India's IVF market is booming, and companies are all smiles

Companies in the organized space, including Birla Fertility & IVF, Indira IVF, Cloud Nine Hospitals, and Nova IVF Fertility, are ramping up their plans to tap this opportunity. (Image: Pixabay)
Companies in the organized space, including Birla Fertility & IVF, Indira IVF, Cloud Nine Hospitals, and Nova IVF Fertility, are ramping up their plans to tap this opportunity. (Image: Pixabay)

Summary

  • Lack of awareness, societal stigmatization, affordability issues and lack of skilled professionals, however, pose major challenges for the IVF industry

New Delhi: Companies specializing in in-vitro fertilization (IVF) services in India, including Birla Fertility and IVF, Indira IVF, Cloud Nine Hospitals, and Nova IVF Fertility, are firming up their expansion strategies to cater to growing demand.

According to analysts, the IVF industry will clock compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16-18% over the next five years, driven by a surge in medical tourism, and increase in health conditions contributing to infertility. The industry is set to double in size by the end of this decade, they added.

An estimated 25-30 million couples are currently grappling with infertility issues, and companies are ramping up their plans to tap this big opportunity.

Ernst & Young expects India's IVF market to grow to $1.45 billion by 2027 from $793 million in 2020 at a CAGR of 15-20%. Allied Market Research estimates the industry to surpass $4.67 billion by 2032 at a CAGR of 18.08%.

There is robust demand from both rural and urban areas, but the coverage in India is still low, and the need of the hour is to bridge the gap of accessibility to tap that demand, service providers said.

“The industry will grow at 15% annually. In India there are around 30 million couples requiring the treatment, but only 1-2% of them actually seek treatment, so, there is a huge gap," Abhishek Aggarwal, chief business officer, Birla Fertility and IVF, said in an interview.

The CK Birla group company is planning to invest 500 crore to expand its network of fertility centres from 37 currently to 100 over the next 4-5 years.

The company on Monday announced the acquisition of ARMC IVF, a chain of fertility centres based out of Kerala.

Also Read: Mint Explainer: What falling total fertility rate will mean for India

Meanwhile, Udaipur-based Indira IVF, one of the biggest fertility chains in the country, is also eyeing a big opportunity, and has been increasing its capital expenditure to expand its presence.“Over the next five years, with a budget of 900 crore, we aim to expand both internationally and in India through merger and acquisitions, as well as partnerships," Kshitiz Murdia, co-founder and chief executive, Indira IVF, said in an interview. It has 130 centres at present, and is set to build its network in tier II and III cities.

“In India, our goal is to increase our fertility centres to 300 within the next three years and establish 30-35 mother and child care hospitals over five years, The upcoming centre in Pune, will be commissioned within three months," added Murdia.

The firm is also planing to increase its presence in overseas markets with 15-20 new centres. “We will be opening 7-8 fertility centres, each, in Nepal and Bangladesh, besides exploring opportunities in other South Asian countries, as well as Africa."

Also Read: The population puzzle: What Indians feel

Recently, Nova IVF Fertility had also announced its plans to add 32 centres in India by the end of this year, from around 78 at present. The company had acquired Wings IVF, an IVF chain based in Ahmedabad, last year.

Shobhit Agarwal, chief executive, Nova IVF FertilityCentres, said: "In both rural and urban settings, the demand for IVF services is shaped by unique yet converging factors. Urban areas witness increasing infertility rates due to lifestyle changes, delayed parenthood, and environmental factors. Meanwhile, rural communities often face limited access to fertility specialists and comprehensive reproductive healthcare."

Since Asia Healthcare Holdings took over Nova IVF Fertility in 2019, it has grown from 18 centres to 78 across 54 cities. “We have almost half the centres present across the tier 2 regions, and recently expanded into newer regions like Guwahati, Agra, Erode, Warangal Bareilly among the others. We are planning to grow at 40% in FY25, the company has been growing at a CAGR of 32%," he added.

Regulations and challenges

The IVF industry is intensely competitive with specialized companies as well as multi-specialty hospital chains offering services, alongside a few local and unorganized players. 

Though 50% of the Indian market is unorganized play, the organized market comprises three segments—chains focusing only on fertility issues; corporate hospital chains offering fertility services; and single, large doctor practices.

In 2023, the government had implemented stricter regulations for assisted reproductive technology (ART), frequently used to address infertility via IVF. The move was aimed at addressing the proliferation of illegal IVF centres, and curb illicit and unnecessary procedures, to safeguard unsuspecting couples from exploitation.

All stakeholders in the field encounter considerable obstacles due to widespread lack of awareness and societal stigma surrounding fertility issues, said experts, emphasizing the importance of recognising infertility as a legitimate medical concern.

Affordability also remains a significant challenge for the industry due to inadequate insurance coverage and a shortage of skilled professionals in certain specialized fields, they said. These factors continue to hinder service delivery, they added.

However, a positive development emerged in 2023, when Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority mandated comprehensive coverage for all intending parents, and surrogate mothers who were undergoing fertility treatments.  

Also Read: India’s ageing population is crying for a new health insurance model

 

 

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