When Melissa Brown (name changed) took leave for a few days from her job at Harvard University, she did not expect it to result in a pink slip. But when her 15-year-old job came to an end, Brown decided to be positive and start a family. She booked into a fertility clinic in Mumbai.
In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) specialists in India confirmed that the economic slowdown is seeing an increasing number of foreign couples – laid off or forced to go on leave – book into their clinics.
“Money isn’t a problem as the cost of treatment in India is marginal compared to that abroad. The main issue until now was getting leave, as it could take two to three weeks to complete an IVF cycle. Now we have more couples who have time after losing their jobs,” said Dr Jatin Shah of the Bombay Infertility Clinic and IVF centre.
Many couples, from the UK, US and Middle East, made this choice after being forced to go on leave without pay, according to doctors.
“To beat their blues, they thought this is a wonderful opportunity. They’ve usually been planning for months but didn’t want to take a risk by asking for leave,” said Dr Nandita Palshetkar, IVF consultant at Lilavati hospital.
“Most are from the service industry. Until now, they negotiated to reduce the time involved, now they are enjoying it,” said Dr Manish Banker, chairman of the infertility panel of Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India.
A few are mixing vacations with the treatment. “After the vacation, they want to dedicate time to treatment,” said Dr Narendra Malhotra, an Agra IVF specialist.