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Demonetisation

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Demonetisation: A blow to Kerala’s childless couple’s dreams

KASARGOD: In a society where infertility is being considered as a curse and stigma, demonetisation has dealt a big blow to the dreams of several childless couples. Due to cash crunch and the note ban’s impact, including job loss and slump in business, a lot of couples are deciding to drop, postpone or move to low-cost treatment. The introduction of Goods and Services Tax has also upset their plans.

Kokoori Laparoscopic & IVF Clinic director Sivadas V K said the clinic has been experiencing 35-40 per cent dip in number of patients for the past one year. “The patients have been stopping scheduled treatments or postponing them. In private talks, they cite lack money as the reason,” said Dr Sivadas, whose clinic charges Rs 1.5 lakh for In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and Rs 5,000 for Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI). Sivadas said patients, in order to cut costs, were asking for IUI treatment instead of IVF.

IUI is a fertility treatment which involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus while IVF is a process of fertilisation where an egg is combined with sperm outside the body, in vitro (in glass). Kerala Private Hospitals Association president Muhammad Basheer said demonetisation was big setback to clinics. “The middle class is the most affected and they can’t afford the charges. So they’ve left us,” said Basheer.

Institute of Maternal and Child Health (IMCH) superintendent Sreekumar C said the number of patients reaching the infertility unit has remained stable. “It may be due to the migration of patients from private clinics to the IMCH due to low treatment cost existing here,” said Sreekumar whose view was echoed by its infertility unit nodal officer Priya N. In IMCH, the total cost of one cycle of IVF treatment is between `90,000 to `1 lakh, depending on health condition and age of the woman.