Bourn Hall Clinic, the world's first IVF (In-vitro Fertilisation) clinic, has opened a centre here — the first one outside the United Kingdom. The assisted conception clinic, which has to its credit the world's first test tube baby, will be opening 16-18 centres across the country in the next three to five years.

Addressing journalists at the launch, Mike Macnamee, Chief Executive, Bourn Hall Clinic, said India was the most underserved in IVF. They chose Kerala to begin with because of its high literacy standards and cost affordability coupled with high quality medical community and better health parameters.

“The average age of women getting married in the State is higher at 25 years and above, and the middle class understands the need for assisted reproduction in case of infertility,” said Praveen Kini, Chief Executive Officer, Bourn Hall Clinic India.

The IVF pioneers, the 2010 Nobel laureate Professor Robert Edwards and Dr. Patrick Steptoe, set up the Bourn Hall Clinic in 1978 when they first revolutionised infertility treatment with the birth of the first test tube baby, Louise Brown.

16 to 18 centres

The Clinic plans to set up 16-18 centres in India with a total investment of Rs. 200 crore. The second clinic will come up in Delhi in October. It would also open centres in Dubai and then spread to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

Each of the clinics in India would be set up with an investment of Rs.16 crore to Rs.20 crore. The Clinic will provide a range of fertility treatment and personalised patient care with the same standard as provided by the parent clinic in the U.K, said Peter R. Brinsden, Group Medical Director, Bourn Hall International and President of British Fertility Clinic.

He said that bringing Bourn Hall services here would be in the same ethos of the founders. “Infertility is a painful experience in certain cultures and India is among them,” Dr. Brinsden said. The locally recruited staff would be given intensive training and effort would be made to make all centres autonomous within three years, he said.

The cost of the treatment would be around Rs.2.5 lakh for a patient. Though the success rate of the world class fertility treatment is 50 per cent, each patient would be counselled and given details of their chances of success. Dr. Macnamee said that in the U.K., the average age of women coming for fertility treatment was 37.5 years.

However, the women's reproductive age declines after 35 years, he said. Though there are no surveys done here, about 20 per cent of infertile couples require IVF treatment. In certain cases where no embryos are formed, the entire sum would be reimbursed, he added.

The Clinic will start functioning from next week from its building on M.G. Road. The Clinic can be reached on toll-free number 1800-200-1978 and more information about the Clinic is available at www.bournivf.com.