‘There is a lot of social stigma surrounding medical intervention for infertility’
The blame of not being able to bear a child is still on the women, who are harassed mentally and physically while men hesitate to come to the clinic for the fear of being tested.
Science has advanced leaps and bounds making biological babies a possibility even for infertile couples. Sadly, there is still a lot of social stigma surrounding medical intervention in our country. Owing to this, the treatments surrounding infertility become challenging for many, who hesitate to get timely medical help.
The blame of not being able to bear a child is still on the women, who are harassed mentally and physically while men hesitate to come to the clinic for the fear of being tested. I remember a case where a couple came to us to have the wife tested for infertility. Interestingly, she was the man’s third wife – the first two were also unable to get pregnant – but he was adamant that the problem was with his wife.
Upon investigation, his sperm count was found to be nil in the semen analysis. Shouldn’t he have got himself checked first instead of getting married again and again? This does not mean all men are like him. There is a gradual change being observed as more men are getting themselves checked for infertility. But we have a long way to go!
It is common to see couples from affluent backgrounds ‘disappear’ from doctor clinics in advanced stages of pregnancy. They hide their In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) files, sometimes even destroy them, and get themselves admitted to private hospitals after reaching 37-38 weeks of pregnancy. They don’t want their immediate family, including parents and siblings, to know that they baby was conceived through IVF.
Often scared of the reaction of relatives, friends and society at large, couples delay going to see the doctor and end up losing valuable time. Even those who come in want complete confidentiality, which we respect. Fertility treatment can be an extremely stressful and emotional experience and our clinics are equipped with right professionals like counsellors who help couples though this journey.
The biggest stigma surrounding IVF is the common perception that the child born out of this process is ‘it is someone else’s and not our own’. We hold regular camps and even offer free consultations from time to time to clear this misconception and make people aware of the benefits of fertility treatments. In a majority of cases, the egg and sperm are both taken from the couple. The embryo is created in a lab and planted back into the woman’s uterus. Genetically, the child is 100 per cent theirs! It’s just been created in a lab.
It is important to understand that seeking medical help to bear a child is not something to hide or be ashamed of. Just like other medical condition in a human body, infertility can be treated with timely intervention. You just need to come out, raise the red flag and consult a good physician!
Dr. Pratibha Makhija
Dr. Makhija is Consultant in Assisted Reproduction, Gynae Laproscopic Surgeon and High-risk Pregnancy Obstetrician at Makhija Test Tube Baby Center and Maternity Hospital, Bilaspur.
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