Tuesday, 21 April 2015
On a bleak Monday afternoon, I had an appointment and hence was forced out of bed to the clinic. Here I met 51 year old Rajan, 45 year old Rema and their 15 year old son Rohit. They were silent for a long time after entering my chamber, it was very awkward. I saw the expression of despair on their faces and it was then that I observed that something is wrong with Raju and immediately it struck me – he was a affected with the Down Syndrome.
Down syndrome (DS or DNS), also known as trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21. It is typically associated with physical growth delays, characteristic facial features, and mild to moderate intellectual disability. The average IQ of a young adult with Down syndrome is 50, equivalent to the mental age of an 8 or 9 year old child, but this varies widely. Down syndrome is the most common chromosome abnormality in humans, occurring in about one per 1000 babies born each year.
Raju and Rema were in tears as they explained their situation. Even though they loved their son dearly, they badly wanted another healthy child. But this was not an easy task, as risk of having a baby with Down syndrome is higher if you already had another baby with Down syndrome. Moreover, their age added to the risk factors. Researchers have proved that the risk of delivering a downs baby increases for women from the age of 35. Seeing their desperation I sincerely wanted to help them, but I knew it would be a great challenge.
I agreed to help them, but on certain conditions – first being - will try with a healthy donor egg as this will reduce the chance of downs by 50%. But using the Fathers sperm, there is still another 50% chance that the next baby could also be born with down syndrome. With the modern technology and latest scientific breakthroughs, I decided to go ahead.
Down syndrome can be identified during pregnancy by prenatal screening followed by diagnostic testing, or after birth by direct observation and genetic testing. In this case as we were performing an IVF, there are tests like PGD (Pre-Implantation Genetic Disorders) which can be done even before the embryo is transferred and we can transfer healthy embryos. Prior to this we had also conducted a sperm DNA Fragmentation test to check the quality of sperms and this came out normal, but since we did not want to take any chance PGD was also done. Even after transferring the embryo to the surrogate mother we continued with other tests such as the non-invasive Maternity trisomy 21 test, where a blood sample from the surrogate mother would give the genetic composition of the baby. All tests gave normal results, but still I was more apprehensive than the parents, for I had assured them a healthy baby.
All through the gestation period (Pregnancy), I was anxious, I had to make sure nothing went wrong and hence regular checkups and tests were done. Ultrasound imaging can be used to screen for Down syndrome. Findings that indicate increased risk when seen at 14 to 24 weeks of gestation include a small or no nasal bone, large ventricles, nuchal fold thickness and an abnormal right subclavian artery, among others. The presence or absence of many markers is more accurate. Increased fetal nuchal translucency (NT) indicates an increased risk of Down syndrome.
After the delivery, pediatrician checked and conducted tests and scans for the baby to rule out Down’s syndrome. Completely satisfied I handed over a perfectly healthy baby to the happy family.
Since it was a special baby to me I kept checking every 2 weeks, if she was fine. Two months later, I was invited to their palatial mansion in the heart of Bangalore city. It was immensely gratifying to look at the overjoyed parents. Rohit had a special gleam on his face when he tried to entertain his little sister Rohini. I felt so proud and contented, while holding little Rohini.
GIFT IVF Centre (Director)
Dear Dr Mani,
I take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation, thanks and gratitude, for the genuine hospitality and service you have provided for my family.
You have given our family the most precious, priceless gift in the World a beautiful baby girl.
I was very impressed with your passion, expertise and out most professionalism in the manner you and your wife operate your clinic. At all times you have demonstrated to me, that you are not driven by money and greed, because you have a sincere passion, genuine empathy in helping prospective parents becoming parents.
My family experience with you and your clinic has been a very pleasant, memorable and pleasurable experience, which we will remember for the rest of our lives.
I was taken back on how you take extreme care of all your patients, as if they were your own family. Your staffs have been very generous, professional and very helpful at all times.
Many westerners are dubious in dealing with Indians society, because they are afraid of being swindled with their money, cheated and frustrated dealing with the complicated Bureaucracy governed by India. This definitely is not the case with you, because at all times you have demonstrated to me your professionalism, integrity, loyalty, honesty and sincere empathy in helping prospective parents, achieve the ultimate gift on earth, which is a child of course.
I am more than happy to discuss with your prospective parents, who are contemplating treatment at your clinic, the pleasant experience we had at your clinic. Also’ I am pleased to highly recommend your clinic to prospective patients and I am hoping that the many other IVF clinics throughout India, will emulate your protocols, high morale’s and principles and sound transparent business practices, in operating their clinics the way you operate your clinic.
Once again, my whole family thank you and lovely wife Anita, down the bottom of our hearts, for taking good care of us while in India and giving us a beautiful gift of life.
From Victoria - Australia
Sunday, 12 April 2015
I am happy and contented that I brought hope and meaning to the lives of my patients Ram and Laxmi.
Rahul and Laxmi had been married for more than 8 years. They had no children. After 6 months of marriage, Laxmi had conceived but unfortunately miscarriage happened by the end of the first trimester.
From the second year of their marriage Laxmi began to suffer on and off breathlessness, cough, wheezing and severe ear ache. Even after an ear surgery there was no relief, the pain only intensified and spread. Conditions of cough and wheezing worsened. Rahul took Laxmi to a big medical institute in Cochin for further treatment and after all the tests,they diagnosed it as a case of Wegener's granulomatosis.
Wegener's granulomatosis (WG), is a systemic disorder that involves both granulomatosis and polyangiitis. It is a form of vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels) and an uncommon disorder that affects small- and medium-size vessels in many organs. The inflammation restricts blood flow to various organs causing damage to them. Damage to the lungs and kidneys can be fatal. The cause of Wegener's granulomatosis is unknown. The diagnosis was severely delayed due to the nonspecific nature of the symptoms and hence her treatment was delayed.
With the medications Laxmi began to put on weight, she had high BP and became diabetic. In this situation attempting for a pregnancy was ruled out, as the side effects of all the medicines she was taking were also very high. Laxmi had lost all hope in life and wanted to end her life. But her loving husband Rahul pampered her and showered her with love and took care of her every need.
It was then that they heard about surrogacy and contacted me. I convinced them that there was no need to be disappointed, the Artificial reproductive technology has progressed so much that couples like them who have no other alternative can complete their family through surrogacy. The procedure went smoothly and now Rahul and Laxmi have begun a new life filled with love and laughter. Baby Kiran has brought a ray of light into their life and a ray of hope for the future. My humble efforts, not only brought a new life to this world but saved 2 more from their pains and suffering.
GIFT IVF Centre (Director)
Saturday, 11 April 2015
We thought, we would share the real story of one of our female patients in the blog today, so that everyone gets a fair picture of a patient’s journey through various stages of infertility treatments.
Ten years had passed since Carol (name changed) started her married life. The first two years, they tried to conceive naturally, but without any luck. Then they visited a gynaecologist, who advised them to go through Laparoscopy. Subsequently Carol underwent laparoscopy four times and also tried IUI procedure four times. In spite of all the treatments, there was no positive result. They were from an average middle class family and all this treatments were making them financially weak.
Then they decided to try their luck with ICSI procedure in one of the famous hospitals for infertility, but unfortunately the results were again negative. Sadly, infertility was affecting their married life and due to the pressure from social obligations, Carol was divorced by her husband as she failed to conceive.
In 2005, Carol got married again at the age of 35 and the whole process of trying for a child started again. She went through IVF procedure four times and each time, the IVF was performed by highly qualified foreign doctors, but still she couldn’t conceive. Once she had naturally conceived, but the happiness was short lived as two months later she lost the baby in a miscarriage.
Then they came to know about surrogacy and finally, after a lot of research came to us. We explained to them about the whole procedure of surrogacy and they were happy and decided to go ahead with the surrogacy option. Their joy knew no bounds, when we informed them that the surrogate mother was pregnant with their baby. Few days back the surrogate delivered a healthy baby and Carol and her husband were exhilarated as the void in their life was filled by this happy moment. Every time we bring smile on a patient’s face, it gives us immense pleasure and job satisfaction.
We wish Carol and her family, a lifetime of love and happiness!!
GIFT IVF Centre (Director)
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