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Take a loan to be a mother

There's good news for those longing to experience the joy of parenthood, Sujata B Shakeel finds out.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2006 01:12 IST

You've taken loans for a house, a car, or to jetset to your favourite holiday resort. Now you can take a loan to experience the joys of parenthood.

Yes! Motherhood comes with a new tag — money!

In a gesture that is sure to put the smile back on childless couple's face, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (HSBC) has announced a 'parenthood' loan that will help financetreatment for infertility. Or even enable those keen to start a family but desisted because they could not 'afford' it.

"This," says Malini Thadani, Mumbai-based head of public affairs, HSBC, India, "is possibly one of its kind of a loan in the country's banking history". She may be spot on as nowhere has a bank given loans for the treatment of infertility and neither is it covered under any mediclaim policy.

This special scheme, was announced by HSBC in Kolkata in December "to test the waters", as "we felt there was a huge need to provide help and security to young couples who were thinking of starting a family but were unable to do so for one reason or the other," Thadani says.

"Besides, treatment for infertility is very expensive and may dampen a couple's desire to start a family," she added.

The loan can be availed under the personal loan head.

Says Dr Malvika Sabharwal, chief consultant gynaecologist and laproscopic surgeon at the Jeevan Mala Hospital, a treatment for infertility "can cost anything between Rs 75,000 and Rs 1.50 lakh depending on the procedure required" and "about 15-20 per cent of the general population suffers from infertility."

With HSBC offering loans from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh, payable in easy instalments from one to five years, at the rate of 16 per cent, the offer has generated much interest.

Says an official at HSBC's Barakhambha Branch, "there are at least five to six queries a day."

Most people will get their loan, assures Thadani, as long as they fulfil certain criterion: They must be 21 years of age, salaried/self-employed with a minimum per annum income of Rs 75,000 and yes, be an HSBC customer or one planning to be. The parents-to-be would also be required to show their IT returns (last three years), their pay slip and proof of residence.

If the response continues to be as overwhelming as it is in Kolkata, the loan may soon be introduced in Delhi and Mumbai, Thadani reveals.

First Published: Feb 14, 2006 21:28 IST