[Startup Bharat] Bhubaneswar-based Santaan aims to make fertility care accessible in Tier II and III cities
India is the second-most populous country in the world. Even then, fertility-related issues remain a major concern in India. According to the Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction, one in six couples have trouble conceiving.
Fertility and reproductive health in India have mostly been understood as a private affair, something which cannot be discussed in public, resulting in neglect to some extent. Bhubaneswar-based Santaan is aimed at making people more aware of their fertility health and make fertility care accessible to all.
Raghab Prasad Panda, Founder and CEO, Santaan [Image Credit: Santaan]
Founded in 2014 by Raghab Prasad Panda, the medtech startup offers multi-center fertility care, training academy, and research lab facilities.
“Infertility is a big issue and there is a challenge in the supply of quality infertility care in, Tier II, III, and IV cities. We launched Santaan to address this challenge,” Raghab, Founder and CEO of Santaan, tells YourStory.
The DPIIT and Startup Odisha-recognised startup won the “Best Startup” by Times Business Award in 2020. It also won the title of one of the top fertility clinics in Odisha for fourth year in a row last year.
Illustration: YS Design
Making fertility care accessible to all
Raghab explains that the taboo or issue regarding fertility care is that people do not wish to let others know that they have fertility issues or are having trouble conceiving.
“This is a privacy issue mostly. Still, women might visit the hospital for fertility issues, but there is resistance among men. Sometimes, the issue is the people do not want to get noticed visiting hospitals for fertility related care. To address this, Santaan fertility centres provide end-to-end services starting from diagnosis and tests to IVF procedures and conceiving - all under one roof. People need not step out of the centre for anything,” he adds.
Santaan operates two patient experience centers in Berhampur and Bhubaneswar, which provides services including IUI/ IVF, semen banking, egg banking, sperm freezing, and embryo banking.
It also has one research centre in Bhubaneswar, which is developing new products using the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
Raghab reveals that the research centre is currently working on a product called Fertilite, which will help couples undergo treatment from the comfort of their homes. Apart from this, it is also working with IIT Hyderabad for building Mobile Embryoscope, a time-lapse system for monitoring the embryo.
The startup also provides an AI powered IVF lab monitoring solution and an IoT and AI enabled biological sample carrier.
Apart from this, Santaan also has a training lab to provide hands-on training to embryologists and IVF specialists. The founder reveals that it has also done a training session in Africa.
Image Credit: Santaan
Business and more
The startup earns its revenue from its treatment services done at the Santaan fertility centres. Apart from its two centres, it also works in partnership with eight satellite clinics that have been trained to diagnose infertility among people. Once the diagnosis is done, the patients are sent to the Santaan centres for treatment.
The bootstrapped startup claims to be working with about a total of 500 patients on a monthly basis. It has trained a total of 250 professionals to date.
“Our infertility treatment ranges from Rs 5,000 to Rs 1,50,000 depending on the clinical situation of the patient,” the founder says.
According to a report by Allied Market Research, the Indian IVF services market is estimated to become a $1,453.0 million market by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 14.7 percent.
Similar to Santaan, Bengaluru-based fertility tech startup Janani is also operating in this segment. It is working to make the process of infertility treatment and assisted fertilisation easier and more affordable.
Speaking about future plans, the founder reveals that the startup is looking to raise external funding for expanding its business. It is currently looking to establish four more centres in Rourkela, Baleshwar, Jeypore, and Jamshedpur.
In the long run, Santaan is looking to penetrate the eastern India market and have at least 30 operational centres across the country.