iconimg Sunday, August 02, 2015

Mou Chakraborty, Hindustan Times
Kolkata, September 05, 2008
Her twin brother was in a refrigerator for three years. Ishani met him for the first time on Wednesday at a south Kolkata nursing home — thanks to a medical marvel. Ishani and her ‘embryological twin’ Vinayak’s births had been separated by three years, as their mother Rubai Choudhuri was not ready for twins three years ago. Both the babies were born with the help of Invitro Fertilisation (IVF), popularly known as the test tube process.

Thirty-four-year-old Rubai, an MCA, and 35-year-old Debayan Choudhuri, an IIT graduate, met Dr Siddhartha Chatterjee, a fertility physician at Repose fertility clinic in Kolkata, five years after their marriage. Dr Chatterjee suggested the IVF process for the couple.

In the IVF process, the ova and the sperms are fertilised in laboratory environment and is then implanted in the mother’s womb. Normally, two to three embryos are created as a cushion against the chances of rejection. In Rubai’s case, three embryos were created in January 2005.

Rubai’s first implantation turned into a pregnancy. she gave birth to Ishani in October 2005. However, the couple wished to have another child in future and asked the doctor to store the other two embryos. Three years later, they went back to the doctor. And Vinayak was born.

Asked whether the two children can be called twins, Dr Chatterjee said, “Usually we can call two babies twins when two foetuses are formed at the same time. Although that did not happen in this case, these two kids are definitely embryological twins.”

But does the mother regard them as twins? Rubai said, “No. For me Ishani is my first child and Vinayak is my second. I always wanted to be mother of two, which today I have become, thanks to my doctor.”

Rubai is not thinking of going for a third pregnancy. “But we would not mind donating our third embryo to any childless couple or for medical research,” she said.

How big a hole had the twins made in the Choudhuris’ pocket? They spent

Rs 80,000 for IVF and medicines for the first pregnancy. Post-natal care cost another Rs. 50,000. For the second child, the post-natal cost was not more than Rs. 20,000 because “I was not charged for preserving the embryo,” Rubai said. If they had the embryo preserved in a stem cell or embryo bank, it could have cost them Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 20,000 a year.