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The Iindia Express
05 Sept 2012

After nearly 10 years of marriage, Malad residents Shyam and Shubhraa Rastogi decided in January that they finally wanted to start a family. Both media professionals nearing their forties, they wanted to focus on their careers before taking the responsibility of parenting. Fully aware of the medical complications that could possibly arise by conceiving naturally, the Rastogis opted for in–vitro fertilization (IVF), after another couple suggested the option to them.

"Starting a family late was a conscious decision. Once we decided that we were ready, it was either adoption or IVF. Going by the increasing success rate of the procedure , we decided to go for the latter. Also, the child will be biologically ours," said Shubhraa.

The Rastogis are part of a growing community of couples in urban Mumbai who are opting for IVF. The process involves the fusion of an egg and a sperm in laboratory environment (in vitro). The fertilised egg is then transferred back to the uterus and is allowed to grow into a successful pregnancy. Increasing infertility cases and lifestyle changes have made IVF an easy option for couples. Over the past five years, experts have observed a 15-30 per cent rise of IVF cases a year.

"There has been a tremendous increase in awareness levels about IVF among urban couples. They are not wary of telling people about their decision to opt for IVF as there is no longer any taboo associated with it. Lifestyle choices are also a major contributing factor, as people are postponing marriage and family plans giving more importance to their careers. IVF thus becomes the easiest option to start a family," said Dr Nandita Palshetkar, an IVF expert who runs Bloom Fertility Clinic at Lilavati Hospital. Palshetkar, who runs five IVF centres across the country, said around 2,500 couples opted for the procedure last year.

Advanced technological methods and a pain-free procedure have made IVF patient-friendly procedure, experts said."IVF is non-invasive and the patient can be discharged within a few hours. With new technology, its success rate has now gone up to as high as 40 per cent," said Dr Indira Hinduja, who created India’s first test-tube baby in 1985 at KEM Hospital.

However, even as IVF clinics are mushrooming across the city, the Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill (ART), which was drafted in 2010, is yet to be tabled in Parliament. "Fake clinics claiming to perform IVF are cropping up and action should be taken against them. This will be possible only once there is a proper law in place, said Dr Gautam Allahabadia, member of the drafting committee of the ART Bill.

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