iconimg Sunday, March 29, 2015

Alifiya Khan, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, August 06, 2009
It has been six months since Sangeeta Thakare (48) has watched her favourite saas-bahu serial. Thakare (name changed on request) has given up watching TV serials at night since her baby girl was born. “My daughter sleeps around 8 pm and then gets up early morning. She needs to be bottle-fed, cleaned and then played with as she doesn’t sleep. So I have to sleep early,” said the resident of suburban Khar Danda.

This is just one of the many ‘adjustments’ Thakare has had to make.

Her husband says, “We’ve no regrets, it’s a sweet pain.”

The Thakares are among a rising number of elderly couples opting to have babies using fertility treatments.

“Increasingly, couples in their late forties and even fifties have come to our clinic. In most cases, they have been childless. Though a few, want another child after a gap of 10-15 years,” said Dr Anjali Malpani, who runs Malpani
Fertility Clinic in Colaba, south Mumbai.

Most doctors whom HT interviewed confirmed the trend and didn’t see anything wrong in women aged over 45 conceiving children. But the question is, where do doctors draw the line? Or should they?

“No one except the couple has a right to decide if they should have a child. If medical reports are fine, we cannot refuse,” said Dr Hrishikesh Pai, infertility expert at Lilavati hospital.

The couples HT spoke to said they had prepared themselves for all eventualities.

Take Bilal and Najma Khan (names changed). The couple from Null Bazaar has even bequeathed their property to their unborn child in a hand-written will.

“We know we are old and can’t last forever. Maybe one of us will die by the time, our child is of marriageable age,” said Bilal (53).

In the case of the Majithias (names changed), who run a jewellery store in suburban Ghatkopar, nothing can scare them.

“The doctor grilled me. Asked me what if there were complications as I am older, what if the child is physically or mentally challenged. I was not worried; God will take care of everything. I have struggled for 20 years for my own child, can’t wait anymore,” said Suman Majithia, (49) who is expecting twins.