Punjab Becomes First Province To Offer Test Tube Baby Facility For Free

Punjab Becomes First Province To Offer Test Tube Baby Facility For Free
Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid has announced that Punjab will offer free in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or test tube baby facility at a public hospital in Lahore, making Punjab the first province in the country to offer the fertility treatment for free.

The medical procedure will be offered at Lahore's Mother and Child Hospital, which is scheduled to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan in June of this year. Dr Yasmin Rashid said the treatment would be offered to couples suffering from infertility issues.

IVF involves a series of procedures to help with the conception of a child.  During IVF, eggs are retrieved from a woman' ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab.  The fertilized embryo is then transferred back to the woman's uterus. It can be a costly procedure.

While IVF is available at private hospitals throughout Pakistan, it will be the first time the government will offer the treatment at a public hospital. In 2017, the Federal Shariat Court declared that IVF treatment for married couples is legal.

Pakistan joins Singapore, Hungary and Denmark as one of the countries to offer subsidized IVF-treatments to the public. In many countries, governments elect to provide free fertility treatment to counter dwindling birth rates.

According to the 2020 World Population Data Sheet, Pakistan has an annual fertility rate of 3.6 children per couple.  Afghanistan and Pakistan lead as the regions fastest growing populations, with South Asia already one of the fastest growing regions in the world.  At the current rate, Pakistan's population is projected to double in 20 years.