Monday, June 14, 2010

The Stigma of being barren or unethical practices of Fertility clinics? Growing Menace!

The Stigma of being barren or unethical practices of Fertility clinics? Growing Menace!

Every woman dreams to be a mother at some point of time in life. That makes their life complete, purposeful and more meaningful. It is a pleasure of motherhood that brings in a delight in a woman’s life as she carries her first child. Every woman is physically and mentally in need of this best part of life and more so, for her social needs in countries like India, where women who are barren are looked with a stigma.

Though the country is advancing towards lot of things and scientific fronts, this superstitious unsaid practice of avoiding married women without children to social events, and keeping them in the last of any invitation list and avoiding their participation in any special occasions, besides the parent’s pressure to have a child is still a biggest stigma. The thought of having no one to look after in old age, the thought of being ignored, the thought of being barren is becoming a much worried phenomenon to lot of women who are not blessed naturally to bear children, or driven by circumstances to have later marriages or postponing children to later date giving importance to career, acceptance of family and readiness to take the responsibility of children at young age. Readily available contraception, misconceptions of raising kids, expectations to settle first and coupled with medical issues, infertility issues and economic issues somehow do not make lot of women take right decisions at right time.

People today think it is not too late for anything in life. So for Parenthood too. Coupled with growing infertility centers making exaggerated promises and minting money from the desperate families, end up providing all wrong choices to the women in late forties and beyond. What they fail to understand here is that parenthood is a beautiful responsibility. It is a lifetime bonding. You are responsible for the child’s well being, growth and economic and social survival. The quest of motherhood should not alone being a choice to have kids using any of the infertility centers promoted techniques including IVF, test tube babies and egg donations. The growing trend of new mothers at the age of 50, 60, 70, is now throwing biggest challenges to the medical fraternity. Is it ethical to do or even support such a quest of families?

Unless you are affected by these circumstances, you will not be able to justify the same, but however, there are few things that strongly should be considered by every doctor who encourages his patient couple to go through this process. Their ability to take care of the child at a very late age in life. The oldest new mother in the world is said to be slowly dying at the age of 72 after having given birth to a baby girl when she was 70 years old. Does her responsibility ends by bringing in a child to this world and leaving it at the mercy of her relatives when she is no more physically capable of managing a 2 year old girl. Does the little one not need her parents at least till she is of certain age to handle herself?. What is the guarantee that her so called relatives will take care of the child.

The economic well being itself is not an end to this situation, what the child needs is a lasting parental care during the growing years. Will the doctors ensure that it is there, if by any reasons, the parents pass away? Why should even couples wait till they are that old to have children? Why can’t they adopt a child when they are in middle age and know that they may not have children in the natural way? A growing number of people who are already parents are coming forward these days to adopt another child into the family. Why this mindset is not instigated into desperate couples and gives them a guidance to go about it instead of spending all their life’s earning on an infertility centre that does not bring out to them the reality.

It is unfortunate that I have this very issue in my extended family, but am not able to voice out my opinion strongly and oppose their quest of having child after crossing 50, yet only wish at least the doctors would be sensible to advice them to focus on things that are more practical and real, than giving them false hopes even after 25 years of expectations, heartthrobs, fertility treatments and what not. In today’s world, no one can be guaranteed to be taken care by our children in old age, giving the circumstances of global employments, nuclear families and different situations. So, having children at old age only to wipe out the social stigma really makes no sense.

Infertility is no longer a social taboo or a divine curse. Handling it scientifically, by all means is a blessing to couples who want to be parents.  Only wish, they take the decision at the right time in life, keeping into consideration the well being of the child, health of the mother and socio-economic conditions.  This will help the close to 15% of Indian Population suffering from various infertility problems and provide a solace instead of making this scientific advanced procedures a growing menace in the society. 

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