Will COVID-19 have a long-term impact on India’s IVF sector?
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has left no sector untouched. As the number of people affected by COVID-19 continues to climb, it is essential to understand the pandemic’s grave impact on every section of the nation’s economy.
Almost all areas and sectors are bearing the brunt of coronavirus. The he domain of assisted reproduction in India is responding to the crisis by bracing itself to combat the impact.
Coronavirus is already overturning the fertility services industry, which is estimated at $27 billion and has been impacting a multitude of patients, clinics, and fertility services, encompassing elective treatments like surrogate pregnancies, IVF, and egg freezing.
These have witnessed a temporary halt. Owing to the fact that a lot of fertility procedures are time-sensitive, it’s only going to get more challenging emotionally and monetarily with each passing month.
The market for infertility treatment is anticipated to increase from $1.5 billion in the year 2018 to $2.2 billion by the year 2023, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8 percent during the phase of prediction.
Development in the market of infertility treatment is chiefly driven by aspects such as the diminishing global fertility rate, the mounting number of fertility clinics, advancements made in technology, and an increase in public-private investments, funds, and grants.
The pandemic has compressed the economy, and the obtainability of liquid assets has been abridged, and it is believed that the paying capability of people might pose a major challenge to the sector.
Asia-Pacific accounted for the largest share in terms of the number of IVF cycles being performed in 2019, with India, China, and Japan being the foremost contributors to the region.
The market for Indian IVF services garnered $478.2 million in 2018 and was projected to reach $1.45 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 14.7 percent from 2019 to 2026.
Owing to the fact that IVF is an elective treatment, this might lead to a tough time for the sector as it might put IVF services as a second priority during such a nationwide crisis. Hence at the corporate level, the revenue factor in terms of fertility has been marginally impacted.
However, with the implementation of low-cost IVF, EMI, and condensed interest loans may facilitate in lessening the monetary burden to some extent, thus enabling the sector to gradually bounce back with a full-fledged IVF business.
COVID-19 can distress the worldwide economy in three major ways: by impacting production and demand, by generating supply chain and market disruption, and by its fiscal impact on financial markets.
The pandemic has fetched with it an enormous decelerating of the supply chain, stock market unpredictability, falling business confidence, mounting panic among the population, and ambiguity about the future. Since IVF is a time-sensitive treatment, each passing week is crucial for couples keen to embrace parenthood through this procedure.
The onset of this uncertain crisis has resulted in the rescheduling of patient treatments, scans, and medications in pursuit of ramping up patient safety. The universal bodies related to IVF treatment having directed that all fertility treatments can be commenced since there is no evidence of COVID-19 transmission to embryos has proved to be a major respite for the sector.
The impeccable rate of success of IVF procedures in our country has been the major driving factor for its advancement in the field of medical tourism. At present, India has around 18 percent of the worldwide medical tourism market and the number is anticipated to go up to 20 percent by upcoming quarter.
Currently, with international borders being closed and travel coming to a halt, IVF-related medical tourism will certainly get affected.
However, as travel restrictions are lifted and financial stimulus is offered to medical tourism players by the government, there will be a positive push to the exponential growth of medical tourism.
But, the industry might suffer for a subsequent three months till patients gain the courage to travel.
To conclude, this phase is the survival of the fittest. Thus, while many trades will go belly up, some will combine with larger companies.
Today, with the entire nation having to face the issue of a global recession, all sectors are finding themselves in an unprecedented situation where they are bound to make some challenging decisions that might have colossal fiscal effects on their businesses.
Compelled to endure this challenge, the fertility sector is doing so in the larger interest of the entire community. While robust performance in the recent quarter will be austere, expectations of a sharp rebound in post-lockdown days are high.
Additionally, patient sentiment will enhance after the lockdown, and IVF businesses may witness faster recovery in terms of revenues, investments, expansion, and budgets plans.
Edited by Teja Lele
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)