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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Conceived in a lab, born 4 years later

GURGAON: Thirty eight-year-old Poonam (name changed) couldn't have asked for more on her 20th wedding anniversary. Poonam, who moved from the Millennium City to Canada three years ago, was blessed with her first child on Monday in a city-based private hospital. 

Holding her first child in her arms was a cherished moment for Poonam. She said, "Despite my medical condition, I had intense desire to be a mother. I'm glad embryo freezing made it possible. A surrogate helped carry the embryo in her uterus, but I'm the biological mother of my daughter and my husband is her biological father." 

Even after going through five unsuccessful IVF (in-vitro fertilization) procedures, two in India and three in Canada, she didn't lose hope. Eventually, she decided to go for surrogacy, using an embryo doctors had preserved four years back. 

"Poonam has been undergoing treatment for various ailments over the last 10 years. After undergoing treatment for genital tuberculosis, she decided to conceive on her own. But her uterus was in no condition to carry a baby. This led to many unsuccessful attempts. Finally, in 2014, she agreed for surrogacy," said Dr Sonia Malik, head of IVF at Max Hospital, Gurgaon. She reached India on Saturday, when doctors informed her that the baby was expected to be delivered earlier than scheduled. Her husband is expected to reach India soon. 

"IVF has changed my daughter's life. It provides an option to couples who are unable to carry a baby," said Poonam's father. 

In her case, vitrification was used, wherein spare embryos are frozen to help the mother conceive in future. It involved fertilizing Poonam's ovum with her husband's sperm in a laboratory dish in 2010, freezing it, and transferring the embryo into the uterus a surrogate mother in 2014. 

"The embryo has to be preserved in a liquid at an extremely low temperature. Fertilization is a quick process, which takes place within a few minutes of taking out sperm from the male and eggs from the female. While in majority of cases, embryos don't survive frozen for more than two and a half year, in this case, it was good enough to be implanted even after four," said Dr Malik. She informed that success rate in such procedures is about 52%. 

The baby girl, born via a Caesarean section, weighed 3.99 kg. She had to be delivered at 35 weeks, as her weight had increased inside the womb. "Her weight is absolutely normal. She is healthy and will be allowed to go home on Wednesday," said Dr Meenakshi Sauhta, obstetrician at Max. The cost of the embryo transfer was Rs 30,000, while IVF procedure cost a little over Rs 1.5 lakh. About Rs 10 lakh was involved in arranging the surrogacy.


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