India and Pakistan may have failed to make much headway in the peace process, but in the medical sphere, collaborations between the two hostile nations have still kept a glimmer of hope alive. Close on the heels of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's pilgrimage to the country, Mumbai could soon become a prime destination for Pakistani couples who want to have children, but are finding it difficult to.
The Mumbai Obstetric and Gynaecological Society is all set to collaborate with Pakistani doctors to help couples in the neighbouring country avail of cutting edge treatments for infertility in the city. Dr Ameet Patki, secretary of the Mumbai Obstetric and Gynaecological Society, said, "Earlier, people from across the border only came to India seeking treatment for cardio-vascular diseases, and problems in the fields of paediatrics and orthopaedics.
However, with fresh hope blossoming for friendly relations between the two nations after Zardari's visit, an increasing number of couples from Pakistan want to travel to India for infertility-related treatments, as their nation is lacking in technology for the same. Religious constraints also come in the way."
Dr Patki will be addressing a team of 500 gynaecologists and infertility specialists at the 14th international conference held by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Pakistan, which will be held in Islamabad from April 13 to 15. Dr Patki will be shedding light on 'Advances in Infertility' at the conference, and will be addressing doctors from Iran, Iraq and other middle-eastern countries. Dr Patki's lecture will offer an insight into pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.
Mumbai is the hub of infertility treatments in the nation, which is far more cost-effective here in comparison to other world cities. The Society believes that this could be harnessed to expand the scope of medical tourism in the city. "We are looking at a collaborative effort - doctors in Pakistan can handle the patients in the earlier stages of in-vitro fertilisation procedures, and patients can travel to India for the last lap of the treatment," added Dr Patki.
"Research has shown that populations in Baluchistan, Karachi and some other parts of Pakistan suffer from beta-thalassemia and chromosomal defects on account of inbreeding within the communities. In such cases, women cannot opt for abortion due to religious constraints. Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis would enable such women to detect aberrations before implantation in the womb," said Dr Patki, who expects the first round of patients from across the border to arrive within the next three months.
Did you know?
Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis is a new technique that enables doctors to identify genetic diseases in the embryo, prior to its implantation in the womb. The method is of great help to patients who are at the risk of conceiving children with serious genetic disorders.
Cost of conception
India Rs 80,000-1 lakh
UK Rs 3 lakh
US Rs 12 lakh