By CHULARAT SAENGPASSA
“We have seen an increasing number of Myanmar customers. It’s natural. As the economy and incomes grow, so will stress. And stress has reduced one’s ability to procreate,” Superior A.R.T. managing director Sarayuth Assamakorn said.
“Myanmar couples account for 10 per cent of our customer base,” he said.
Established as a joint venture in Thailand between Australia-based Genea, formerly known as Sydney IVF, and a group of Thai experts in infertility and in vitro fertilisation treatment, Superior A.R.T. is one of the world leaders in advanced assisted reproductive technology and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.
Thanks to these technologies, it is possible for infertile couples who carry a mutation for single-gene disorders such as thalassemia and sickle-cell anaemia, breast cancer (genes 1 and 2) and couples at high risk of chromosomal abnormality – for example, Down’s syndrome – to have a healthy baby.
The cost of services usually ranges between Bt300,000 and Bt400,000 per course, but customers are not guaranteed to have a baby as a result.
“No one can guarantee that,” Sarayuth said.
However, he said he could guarantee that Superior A.R.T. offered a good chance for infertile couples to get a baby. At Superior A.R.T., the pregnancy rate stands at 40 per cent, compared with the worldwide range of between 30 and 40 per cent at such centres, he added.
Sarayuth said his company had decided to tap further into the Myanmar market because it was estimated that about a million people in the country had infertility problems.
“We are eyeing a high-end niche market,” he said.
He was speaking during a recent trip to Myanmar during which he and Dr Zaw Myo Swe, the medical director who now heads up Superior
A.R.T. Myanmar, signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the Superior A.R.T. satellite clinic in Yangon.
“We have been working with Dr Zaw Myo Swe for three years. We know there is a solid need for assisted reproduction in Myanmar,” Sarayuth said.
The medical teams of Superior A.R.T. Myanmar have received training in Thailand, he said, adding, “We have sold our knowledge; we have not sold any product.”
Sarayuth said Zaw Myo Swe expected the satellite clinic to attract five couples per month.
Equipped with facilities for screening tests and ultrasounds, Superior A.R.T. Myanmar is the most modern facility for assisted reproduction and consultancy in the neighbouring country.
Zaw Myo Swe said that apart from a modern clinic in Yangon, his firm also has two sub-branches in Mandalay and Nay Pyi Daw.
“We had provided consultancy services and referred customers |to the Superior A.R.T. centre in Thailand for years. Now that we have a satellite clinic, we will be able to provide many types of services in Myanmar,” he said.
The satellite clinic does not yet have a full lab and will still have to seek genetic diagnosis in Thailand.