By, Charan Singh
Raghab Prasad Panda, MD of Santaan Fertility
In Bhubaneswar’s start-up ecosystem, Raghab Prasad Panda(Spreading Bliss for Millennial Couples) is a shining star. To address the demographic challenge intertwined with the socio-economic preference of millennium couples, he along with his partner embarked on a journey in the medical world and founded Santaan Fertility.
Hailing from Berhampur, Mr Panda(Spreading Bliss for Millennial Couples) went on to do his higher studies in Pune. His career is further adorned by being a global expansion manager in ICFAI. Churning amorphous ideas and crystallising them is his USP.
Having been the adept strategist and understanding the pulse of socio-economic evolution in the country, Mr Panda(Spreading Bliss for Millennial Couples) and his partner- an accomplished doctor, conceived Santan Fertility. Since inception, Santaan Fertility has come a long way, spreading joy and happiness among its clients.
Among the many services that Santaan Fertility offers, four services form the fulcrum of its popularity.
1. Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) – Intrauterine insemination (IUI) involves the extraction of a semen sample from the male partner or a donor, which is directly injected into the uterine cavity around the time of ovulation. IUI is often prescribed as the first in a line of infertility treatments when treatment by medication fails.
IUI(Spreading Bliss for Millennial Couples) is recommended in the following situations: when there is a mild to moderate decrease in the sperm count and motility when no apparent cause for infertility is found (unexplained infertility).
About 80% of pregnancies due to IUI occur within the first three IUI cycles, post which the success rate lowers. Experts generally recommend a maximum of three IUI cycles, but this depends upon the age of the patient and the cause and duration of infertility.
2. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): In vitro fertilization refers to a procedure where the woman’s eggs are removed and fertilized with the man’s sperm outside the body, in a laboratory. The embryos, thus formed are then put back into the uterus to achieve a pregnancy.
3. Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): ICSI is a process where a single sperm is injected directly into the egg using a fine glass needle. The main objective of ICSI is to ensure that the spermatozoa fertilize the egg membrane. The woman is stimulated with medications and then an egg retrieval procedure is performed so that several eggs can be obtained to attempt an ICSI procedure.
4. Genetic Testing Pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) is a last generation genetic test that allows experts to screen for chromosomal abnormalities on embryos during an IVF/ICSI cycle. The procedure requires making a small biopsy on the embryos on which the analysis is performed.
Chromosomal abnormalities are a major cause of the failure of embryos to implant, and of miscarriages. All(Spreading Bliss for Millennial Couples) these services require painstaking efforts through different techniques and devices:
Disruptive TLS embryo monitoring: A minimal, time-lapse sensing system that monitors embryo growth at a fraction of the cost of present solutions in an IVF lab.
Bioreactor Perfusion enabled cell chamber – with the aim of automating the IVF cycle process from media changing to embryo monitoring, Experts are working on a bioreactor concept based on the promising microfluidics approach which has many benefits in terms of reduced media-handling volumes and better control on the process in real-time.
Micro gripper Handling of gametes and embryo is a crucial part of the IVF cycle with a significant impact on the success of the procedure. These biological tissues are very sensitive to forces being applied during grasping which is required for ICSI procedure. At Santaan, experts are working on a novel microgripper, force compliant device which is designed not to exert a force on the sensitive embryo beyond a set safe limit.
Sperm Count monitoring device: Controlling semen quality can increase pregnancy success rate up to 20%. Currently, sperm count assessment happens under a microscope requiring an expensive counter device for the manual approximation of the number of sperms in lab settings.
To make this procedure easy and less resource-intensive, Santaan Fertility is in the process of making a sperm counting device which only requires a phone-based camera and a microscopic lens module attachment on a normal phone.
To automatically count the quick-moving sperms in a sample utilizing the good processing speeds, the device is available today on most smartphones running our novel algorithm.
Santaan App Cluster: To assist the patients on the path to parenthood, Santan Fertility seeks assistance from mobile apps which have done considerable work understanding challenges while conceiving and coming up with a service which really helps couples.
Smart Lab Santaan Fertility: aims for better and predictive maintenance of IVF lab. Quality monitoring is an important aspect of IVF lab having a strong effect on final clinical outcome, therefore, rigorous monitoring of lab environment is a crucial activity which is a challenge at present for most labs particularly labs with limited resources.
Environmental disturbances like electric supply, gases, volatile organic compounds, vibration, door open/ shut frequency and temperature play havoc in IVF lab. Most of IVF lab monitoring is passive and reactive.
At Santan, experts are working on an IOT based remote monitoring platform to proactively monitor these parameters which would improve outcomes and reduce failures.
Not only does Santan Fertility cater to the needs of the patients but also imparts quality training in the field of advanced gynaecology.
Mr.Panda rues that infertility is seen in India as only a female problem whereas it’s a half male half female issue. Santan Fertility is leaving no stone unturned to eradicate the stigma attached to fertility issues.
Expounding the statistics related to fertility issues, Mr. Panda reckons, 40% of couples are unable to conceive naturally. Among the rest, because of delaying in family planning owing to career and lifestyle, millennium couples suffer from infertility.