A GREAT PERSON TO CONSULT ABOUT IVF
Dr. Parveen Fatima is an ex associate professor of department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at Banghabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital (BSMMU). She performed in-vitro fertilisation or popularly known as test tube baby in Bangladesh in May 2000 for the first time and is the country’s pioneer in the field dealing with infertile couples. As she gained experience Dr Parveen went on to establish a centre for private services. ‘Centre for Assisted Reproduction (CARe)’ at city’s Shyamoli went into functioning on November 2000 providing health care services for the infertile couples.
Recently she expressed her views on IVF in Bangladesh to Star Health.
When did you start in-virto fertilisation? Who are the first in-vitro fertilised babies in our country?
Dr Parveen Fatima: I started it in November 2000. Hira, Moni and Mukta are the first in-vitro fertilised babies in our country who were born under my supervision.
SH: What inspired you to study this field?
Dr PF: Firstly, as a gynaecologist I saw a lot of patients having problems with fertility. I used to receive many patients complaining about not having baby. So I thought it would be a good idea to study in-virto fertilisation. It touched me and inspired me to come to this world of medical treatment. So, I established the center with my own interest and offering infertile couples the necessary services. I got my FCPS in 1986. Since then I was trying to do something in this field. Since 1993 I went to attend many seminars in different countries discussing IVF. Eventually I was interested in training. I spent my own money to materialise these. I invested all my earnings to build my career in the field and never looked back.
SH: What is the prospect of IVF in Bangladesh?
Dr PF: I am very much hopeful. Unfortunately there are not many places where people can go and seek IVF treatment. But frankly speaking there are many couples in Bangladesh who are infertile but do not know of their problems. There is a need to aware people about infertility and guide them to the right places at right time. I am sure many more young doctors would be interested in the field and offer better services.
SH: Where else people can get facility for IVF?
Dr PF: I am happy to tell you that BSMMU has recently opened infertility department closely associated with the department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics and appointed me on 14 September this year as associated professor in the department. It is a beginning at BSMMU and I hope that it will go a long way. In private sector some other organisations like ‘Harvest’ at Mohammadpur has also come forward in dealing with the infertile peoples.
SH: What about the success and complications?
Dr PF: I can confidently say that the works done at my place in Shaymoli is successful so far. Complications result from belated pregnancy. Beside this, complication due to IVF is very negligible. Now it is very simple for me to perform an IVF.
SH: What are the obstacles you faced to establish this centre?
Dr PF: At first I faced technical problems to set up my centre fully equipped with necessary modern machineries as it was for the first time in our country. As a beginner I had no technical know-how so it was quite difficult to start. Then I had no manpower who knew the subject in addition I had no doctors showing interest in the field. Though I trained many people including nurses and technicians but it was extremely difficult to find young doctors assisting me. The problem was at BSMMUH there is no course offering post-graduation in this field so trainee doctors hardly showed any interest. Then I needed an embryologist to complete the fertilisation process. Realising the problem my husband Dr Moazzem who is a paediatrician offered to help me. After training my husband now looks after the embryology section in the centre. The cost of the medicine is very high as they are not duty free.
SH: What facilities do you think we need to be successful in this field?
Dr PF: At first we badly need the infrastructural facilities, technical support and trained manpower. So we need a specialised hospital to deal with the infertile people. Equipment used in IVF process need to be duty free. Although BSMMU started to provide the facility it is very scanty in comparison with the total need. Besides it lacks adequate place and other facilities.
SH: What is the approximate cost to perform an IVF in our country?
Dr PF: To perform an IVF here the total cost would be around Tk 1.5 lakh. But it would cost you at least three times in Singapore or in Thailand.
SH: Do you think that we should go abroad for such kind of problem any longer?
Dr PF: No. We have enough expertise in the field and so far our success rate is satisfactory but what we need is updating the latest innovations in test tube baby technologies.
SH: What is your future plan?
Dr PF: My plan is to expand this centre and deal with more people who are incapable of getting their child in normal ways.
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