The Wheek
August 02, 2015

Hope to Happiness

On a rainy Saturday evening, the lobbies of Milann - The Fertility Centre, there are patients waiting to meet me, some of them glued on what is being aired on National Geographic Channel “Beyond magic with DMC”. In some ways each of these patients are waiting for the magical moment in their life.

I have been practicing Reproductive Medicine for over 25 years now and no single day has been the same. During this time, I have seen the transformation in our society that I myself find hard to believe when I look back. In the 1990s when I had just set up my practice, there were pregnant women who would come to the centre along with women, who I first thought were their attendants. But the pregnant women would sit outside and who I thought were attendants were actually my patients. They had brought these pregnant women to hide the fact that they had come to seek treatment. Infertility was such a stigma back then and it took me over a decade to convince them that there was always a solution. However, the scenario has changed, be it the treatment modality or the patient perspective. Nowadays, people are able to communicate their problems without hesitation and couples come together to seek infertility treatment, as against two decades earlier, when women patients would come with their mother-in-laws and it was after two or three failed attempts that the male would surface (I would find out that it was a case of male infertility and the lady was completely alright). The success rates of fertility treatments have also improved tremendously due to advancements in equipment, culture fluids, and enhanced training for embryologists and practitioners.

  • India faces a high burden of infertility with 22 to 33 million couples in the reproductive age suffering from lifetime infertility.
  • Female factor accounts for 40- 50% of infertility amongst infertile couples, while male factor which is on the rise in India, accounts for 30-40%
  • Up to 13 % of female infertility is caused by cigarette smoking
  • Irregular or abnormal ovulation accounts for approximately 25% of all female infertility problems
  • 12% of all infertility cases are a result of the woman either weighing too little or too much.
  • Most infertility cases, up to 85% to 90% are treated with conventional medical therapies such as medication or surgery

The devastation that the young mother had experienced having lost her child moved me so much that I decided that very instant to help her through an IVF program. She was successful in delivering a baby boy.

Sometimes, your patients turn out to be the real teachers in your life. A case in recent times that I recall vividly, of a lady with both her lower limbs afflicted by polio, taught me the most important lesson in life- to never give up in life even when the odds are stacked against you. She was a government servant and was the sole breadwinner for her family till she got married. She came to my clinic after eight years of marriage, very determined to have a baby. She took no one’s support as she sat on the chair and it was looking at her independent spirit how she faced the world that came across as a pleasant surprise. Incidentally, her husband was a physical instructor and was very supportive of his wife. She conceived in her first cycle and delivered a baby girl and I could see her determination and her beaming confidence even when she was pregnant and regularly came for check-ups.

My patients have shaped my life and have taught me some of the most important lessons in life, turning me into a philosopher more than a doctor that I think I am today. It is the blessing of my patients that has created Milann – The fertility Centre it is today.