Dr Indira Hinduja had performed India’s first successful IVF delivery on August 6, 1986. Mani Chawda’s daughter, Harsha, became the country’s first IVF baby. Thirty years later, Dr Hinduja delivered Harsha’s baby, defying the myths which say that IVF babies cannot lead a normal life.
Dr Hinduja had attempted IVF with about 17 couples before she met the Chawdas, who had been trying to have a baby for four years, reported HT.
The couple found success on their very first attempt and baby Harsha was born at the King Edward Memorial Hospital in central Mumbai. Late Dr Kusum Zaveri was also roped in by Dr Hinduja to assist as she was afraid that her hands might shake.
Harsha’s mother, Mani, received congratulatory letters from all over the country after Harsha was born. “They were congratulating me. One woman came all the way from Worli to our house in Jogeshwari to discuss IVF because she wanted to do it too,” Mani recalled.
Misconceptions around IVF
The couple faced problems as the concept of IVF was new and people made all sorts of comments due to lack of knowledge at that time. At Mani’s baby shower, media turned up at their house. Her extended family then got to know that she had conceived through IVF.
She said, “Once they knew, there were all sorts of comments. Some said the baby would be born with four hands; others wondered if it was even my husband’s. But Dr Hinduja had assured us that the baby was ours. We also found support in Harkisan Mehta [then editor of the Gujarati weekly Chitralekha], who travelled to the US and returned with photographs of IVF babies. He showed them to us and told us how a test-tube baby was normal abroad.”
Harsha, now 32, and a stay-at-home mom, said she had figured she was an IVF baby. “Every year, the media would come to take photographs of me on my birthday. I’d hear them refer to me as a test-tube baby,” she said.
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Once she grew up, she started using test tubes at school for experiments. She said, “I associated test tubes with experiments and wondered if I was one too. I was very upset.”
Her parents then called up Dr Hinduja to explain the matter to her. They remained in touch and roped her in when it was time for Harsha to have her own child.
Harsha says, “She’s like my godmother.”
Dr Hinduja said Harsha’s normal delivery is a proof that IVF babies lead a normal life. “To watch Harsha grow up, marry… she now has two children, a boy and a girl. The whole experience has been incredible and I’m grateful to God that I was part of it,” she said.
Picture Credit: Mashable
Kriti Dwivedi is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv