A year into their marriage, Pooja, 25, and Hemant, 28, (names changed) were eager to have a child. The first step towards planning a pregnancy was a visit to a diagnostic centre at Khar, where the couple got themselves tested for possible hereditary disorders or other abnormalities that could complicate a pregnancy.
The tests revealed that while Pooja’s blood group was B-negative, Hemant’s was A-positive. “In such cases where the wife has a negative blood group and the husband has a positive one, the woman needs to undergo further blood tests after she gets pregnant to take precautions to ensure that antibodies do not enter the child’s body and create complications,” said Dr Sarita Morekar, a senior pathologist at the Khar diagnostic centre where the couple underwent the tests.
Like Pooja and Hemant, several city couples are opting for pre-conception tests, which can predict abnormalities during pregnancies or deformities in the foetus.
Metropolis Healthcare, a chain of diagnostic centres, has seen a 26.27 % rise in the number of couples opting for pre-conception testing in the last three years. In 2008-2009, 586 couples opted for such tests and the next year, 740.
“Earlier, couples would consult doctors in the fifth or the sixth month of pregnancy. This has changed now,” said Bharti Chheda, manager, Metropolis Healthcare. “I get a lot of couples, who want to know if they will have future problems when they get pregnant,” said Dr Ashwini Bhalerao-Gandhi, consulting gynecologist, Hinduja hospital. Pre-conception tests can detect hereditary disorders such as Thalassemia, syphilis, rubella, HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and several others.
But some doctors rubbished this trend and said only affluent couples can afford such tests.
“Many of these tests are not necessary. This is nothing but a gimmick,” said CN Purandare, former president of Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI).