Missing Parenthood in India

Recently, most of us came across the news whereby a 74-YO lady in India set a world record by delivering healthy twins via C-section, having attained pregnancy through IVF procedure. A few people have appreciated the couple’s grit at this ripe age and also, lauded the entire medical team’s sincere and well co-ordinated efforts. But most of our society has badly criticized their decision, particularly centering its questions on the upbringing of the twins and the medical ethics of the team that ultimately helped them.

My two fundamental questions to the people criticizing this event:

  1. If this medical team could do the entire procedure in a safe manner (after weighing other health vitals and doing psychological counselling) on the 74-YO lady, who has been yearning and trying for conception for 57 years, then why did other medical institutions/doctors fail at such a or similar performance earlier? Or were they just indifferent to the couple’s agony as is the case in many instances?
  2. Those who are so concerned about the twins, why don’t they come forward and adopt them later, let alone celebrating the old lady’s joy of conception and motherhood?

And I have no words for people so thankfully relating population control and childless couples!!!!!

It is easy to criticize, blame, ridicule, taunt, tease on these issues in our society. Women who fail to conceive, whatsoever be the reason, are still labelled “barren” in different jargon across India. Nothing changes it yet. For in India, motherhood still largely means through biological conception!!! Whether in cities or villages, how many people are sensible towards the women/couples somehow deprived of it? How many come forward to defend their helpless and even utterly depressive situations? In any social function, the childless women feel (made to feel actually!) a certain degree of isolation and incomplete status in their lives. They are mercilessly compared to women with children or multiple pregnancies, and rigorously questioned. It does not matter what or how much they do for themselves, their families and the society. If such childless couples divert their time and energy for philanthropic works, even then most of them are teased – “what else will you do?” Many people merely preach on adoption. But how many will go for it if it were their case? And they also later ask – “won’t you have your own genes.. own baby, at least one?” As if parenthood lies in DNA only!! Then there are couples who emotionally need their biological legacy to continue; that could be for various reasons. Likewise, there are several other issues.

It is this increasing magnitude of brunt over the years that compels many such affected women to forget every pain..every criticism, and take high risk of pregnancy irrespective of their age and even other health conditions. The attempts itself could be very traumatic. Then the mental, psychological and emotional well-being becomes all, especially as certain hormones also drastically change with increasing age. All these unleash a great amount of toll on their husbands and immediate families as well. Only a strong couple can fight the situation and sail together – whatever solution they finally choose, with or without medical assistance.

The other hugely concerning chapter for childless couples is the changed bill/laws on surrogacy in India. Well, it is good that the option is no longer commercial; so it cannot be misused. But due to ill-regulations, the genuinely infertile/intending couples are much losing it out!! Some of the current conditions of altruistic surrogacy in our country is worth a larger debate and re-consideration. For example – the surrogate mother has to be a ‘close relative’. Even if ‘close relative’ gets defined, can every such genuinely intending couple find a ‘close relative’ to be a surrogate mother? The search of fulfilling this criterion further erodes the couples’ biological clocks, and deters authorized/good fertility centers and hospitals from taking up the cases in ethical ways. And how many surrogate mothers shall come forward for an altruistic one? The ‘close relative’ provision will definitely also have emotional and psychological implications on the associated members at some point of time!! The new bill/laws also do not consider an intending biological mother’s incidental health factors like diabetes, hypertension, etc. risking a normal full-term pregnancy to make her a fit case to opt for surrogacy. Is this right? Isn’t the new bill/law rather adding to the trauma, woes and desperation of such already helpless couples? Parenthood is ridden with biological, emotional and psychological aspects. It is much beyond conception and delivery of a baby; and therefore, neither couples should be callously made to wait for indefinite time, nor they can wait beyond a certain age!

Similarly, CARA (Central Adoption Research Authority) provisions need to be modified for faster process of adoption in India.

Could all the stakeholders concerned in our country care to think on these social issues, and quickly pave real solutions for the childless couples by generating awareness, streamlining medical choices, acting within a reasonable time-frame and bettering lives? The solution should also include sensitization of the society towards empathetic behaviors with childless couples and adoption, and cheerful inclusion of adoptive parents and adopted kids in our diverse system.

 

 

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