New Delhi, May 23: For 17 years, they nursed the dream of raising a family of their own. Thanks to in vitro fertilization technology and doctors’ expertise, this life-goal of Brij Lal (68) and Safla Rani (56) was fulfilled a year ago, when they became proud parents of a baby boy.
The Delhi couple got married in 1997 and discovered they were unable to conceive after three years. They spent all their savings and even mortgaged properties, visiting all known and unknown fertility clinics, including Bourn Hall in UK where the first test-tube baby was born, over the next 15 years. Nothing helped.
“We have no regrets about the long struggle and the money spent. It’s a miracle that, after all these years, we could have Vairaj. I am thankful to God and the fertility expert who made this possible,” said Lal, who retired from Air India a few years ago. His wife works with an engineering consultancy and is due for retirement in four years.
While the couple and the clinic are both ecstatic over this achievement, many experts say they are concerned about the future of children born to such aged couples who are in their late 40s or 50s. “Even if they succeed to conceive, what is the guarantee that they will be able to look after the newborn? The government must look into these aspects and frame laws to regulate these practices,” said a senior doctor.
Dr Manika Khanna, who heads Glaudium IVF Centre in west Delhi where the couple underwent assistive reproductive technology, said she screened the couple for any serious medical conditions before clearing them for the procedure.
“We do not conduct IVF for aged couples who have serious medical conditions or poor socio-economic status. The couple did not fall in either category. Also, they did not even have a single child and there is no law that bars anyone from fulfilling the desire to have one with help of technology,” Khanna said.
According to the doctor, Safla Rani suffered from polycystic ovarian disease and poor endometrial receptivity, due to which she could not conceive naturally. “We gave her medicines to treat the causative factors apart from hormonal injections,” Dr Khanna said.
Khanna said Safla Rani did have high blood pressure and blood sugar problems that were also treated with medication. “Children born through IVF are at higher risk of genetic disease. So we waited for a year and screened the child. He is in perfect health,” she said.
Controversy over older women conceiving through IVF erupted a few years ago when a 70-year-old woman from a village in Haryana famously gave birth to triplets. She became the oldest mother in the world. However, she died three months after giving birth due to complications during pregnancy.