A day after Shobha Joshi, 55, gave birth to a boy through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) in Thane, the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI) on Wednesday said that such cases cannot be lauded as medical achievements.
On May 29, a 66-year-old Haryana woman had given birth to triplets. “The IVF procedure, and especially having triplets at this age put the patient at undue risk, which is not acceptable on medical ethical grounds,” said FOGSI president Dr Sanjay Gupte.
Currently, there is no law that sets an age limit for women wanting to undergo the IVF procedure. However, gynecologists say that there are a number of age-related risks for women opting for IVF procedures beyond a certain age.
Haryana’s Rajo Devi Lohan, 70, gave birth to a girl 18 months ago, and is reportedly too weak to recover from complications related to the IVF pregnancy. “There are greater complications with age as body functions become less than normal. There are added risks of diabetes, hypertension for the mother and low birth weight and abnormalities for the child,” said gynecologist Dr Duru Shah.
The risks get multiplied when a woman is carrying twins or triplets. “I think the IVF procedure should be limited to women under 50 years of age. Also, who is going to look after the young child if the aged parents die?” asked Shah.
Gupte added that the Federation is working to set guidelines on the age limit forthe IVF procedure.
Dr Sandeep Mane, who helped deliver Joshi’s son in Thane, said that setting an age limit would be unfair. “I understand the doctors’ concerns. But one should decide on a case-by-case basis. Our assessment of the Joshis confirmed that they were fit to have a child,” he said.
For Joshi’s husband, Vidyadhar, 54, becoming a father 35 years after marriage has been thrilling. “What should people like us do then? Our life and aspirations don’t end just because we are over 50. We have suffered much social stigma all these years,” he said.