By Shradha Aswani
I have always been a believer in destiny. But often in this journey, I have met people who believe that thoughts have the power to manifest reality. This, along with the leaps science and technology are taking,
often make me wonder if the latter is also a probability.
Meeting Anin Gujral, an International Business Development Consultant at Genea, a leading fertility
clinic in Thailand, made me think hard about this. “People know that there’s more than one way to make a baby, but they don’t want to talk about it. At Genea, we want the world to know that the miracle of modern science is just as good as the miracle of birth. We all make babies, some of us just make them differently,” he tells me, in an introduction to the company and what it does.
Born and bred in Chiang Mai, Anin went to pursue a Master’s in Communication & Cultural Studies in Sydney in the summer of 1996. After having finished his degree, he worked in the tourism industry in the city for over 10 years, then moved back to Bangkok for personal reasons. “Once I was back, I was offered the role of a marketing manager in an IVF company, and was quite nervous considering the field was very new to me,” he admits, “but the thought of helping people fulfil their dream of having a healthy baby was reason enough for me to accept the role, and I haven’t look back since.”
In an exclusive sit-down with Masala, he sheds light on the alternate methods of having a child and the doors Genea opens for those struggling to have a baby.
For the layman, knowledge of fertility support is limited. How does Genea help individuals struggling with infertility?
The reason why a couple is having trouble getting pregnant could be something simple like their lifestyle or a more complex medical disorder, such as endometriosis or a low sperm count. We strongly believe in accurately diagnosing the cause of infertility as soon as possible.
The modern miracle of IVF can be used to overcome a range of fertility issues, but it’s important to make sure that you actually need IVF and that it addresses your infertility issue. At Genea, our baby-making experts work towards solving your fertility puzzle.
Tell us more about the process that Genea adopts for IVF and your proprietary GROW app mentioned on your website.
If after our diagnosis, we identify that you need IVF to help you conceive, here’s what’s going to happen. We’ll collect your precious eggs and sperms, and take them to the laboratory where the eggs will be fertilized by sperm under the romantic glow of lab lights to become embryos. [Laughs]
The embryos are moved to Genea’s Geri® incubation system – an IVF technology only available in Australia and Thailand. These embryos grow for several days before one of them is transferred to the uterus.
The GROW app for smartphones and tablets is a leading piece of technology that brings patients into their IVF treatment cycle. It gives you 24/7 access to photo and video coverage of embryos during the five days that they grow in an incubator in the embryology lab. Patients are able to download these images and videos, and share them with family and friends, to feel more connected and involved in the process.
Trusting treatments that allow you to have children even when you are unable to conceive naturally can be hard for parents-to-be. From a marketing perspective, how do you manage to help build that trust?
It’s a very difficult process emotionally, for sure. We ensure that our patients are supported by professional staff. Alongside a dedicated Fertility Specialist, you have access to a team who knows everything that’s happening on your journey – nurses, scientists, and counsellors, all tailoring your experience and communicating with one another to ensure you receive a comprehensive, supportive, and personalised plan. There’s one end goal: making a baby.
It’s also a reality that we don’t have a hundred percent success rate. So, when there’s a patient who doesn’t succeed on their first trial, we’re here to provide all the support they need.
What are the challenges of convincing the Thai-Indian community in particular about these alternative modes of having a child; especially since the idea of having a biological child is something that South-Asian communities hold extremely close?
Big families are part of the Indian identity. We Indians are really obsessed with making babies! [Laughs] The whole purpose of our lives is to marry at 25, have the first child by 26, second by 28-30, get the tubes tied by 32-33 and then live a settled, semi-happy, long married life. Heavens forbid if there are any obstacles on this path! If any couple is having trouble conceiving (no visible pregnancy after six months of marriage), society
thrives on putting pressure on them and everyone related to them.
At Genea, we understand that fertility and reproduction can be a very private issue, and maintaining this privacy is of utmost importance to build trust.
The expense associated with fertility treatments is one of the biggest hesitations that people have, even when they really wish to consider IVF or other modes of support. What are the options that can be considered in situations like these?
IVF is a sophisticated treatment that requires expensive equipment and skilled personnel. The cost of IVF normally includes: initial counselling and tests, medication, laboratory charges, doctors’ fees, embryologist’s fees, and media and disposables. One can’t compromise on standards. But not all paths to parenthood have to be via an IVF expressway. The thing to remember is that your chance at success in conceiving comes down to two things: your personal situation (fertility, age, general health); along with the baby-making expertise of your doctor and your fertility clinic. Getting the right diagnosis is crucial.
A lot of companies are now offering fertility benefits as a workplace perk. Do you think that is set to reform this industry?
Yes, it is already happening in the US. Big companies such as Apple, Unilever, Microsoft, Starbucks, Facebook, Pinterest and Tesla have already stepped up their game and upgraded their health plans, offering a variety of benefits to attract employees, such as egg freezing and other fertility treatments. Thailand could be next!
What is the one message you would like to give to the community?
The world is a very different place from where it was five years ago. We live in a world where family comes in all shapes and forms. Some can’t have children biologically, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to
have a family of their own.
The right time for you to seek help is when you become worried about not conceiving. The earlier you embark on the correct, personalised treatment plan, the higher your chances of having a baby.