Contact me !

If you need to contact me , please write to me to this email ID : I will be happy to help.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Infertility, IVF and Indian society!

India is a male-dominated, child (male child!)-obsessed society. When a couple faces infertility problem, women are the ones who are blamed for their inability to get pregnant and not the men. There are men who are reluctant to undergo infertility testing. There are mother-in-laws who adamantly deny the fact that their son could be infertile. According to them their daughter-in-laws are the sole reason for not begetting a child. The position of infertile women in Indian society is highly pathetic. They are generally viewed as pitiable and unfortunate women; as they are missing motherhood. Indian society is so used to seeing women as baby-making machines. People believe that womanhood is complete only when a woman gives birth to a baby. As a result, when a woman fails in her reproductive function, she is viewed as incomplete and flawed! All other positive assets of her are considered useless or valueless. In certain parts of India infertile women are thought to be possessed by evil spirits! There are people who do not invite infertile women for auspicious functions. Because of the social stigma associated with infertility, even educated women consider their infertility as shameful! They think that their body is defective and they believe that because of their past or present life sins they are cursed to suffer. They also believe that infertility is a punishment from God. As a result, infertile women are very reluctant to talk to anyone about their problem and sufferings. This in turn creates enormous mental struggle and depression. No one dares to ask Indian men why he is not able to have children but childless Indian women faces ridicule from all walks of the society. In such an environment what should a husband do to protect his wife’s emotional well-being?

The in-laws pose a major threat to an infertile woman’s emotional safety. Although it is not always true, in 99% of cases infertile women suffer in the hands of their in-laws. When a woman is not educated or financially independent and when she has to live with her in-laws, the suffering becomes intense and intolerable. She has to face verbal attacks and in some rare instances even physical violence. But an infertile Indian man is totally protected from these kinds of emotional assaults. In such a circumstance, if your wife has fertility problem isn’t it your duty to safe-guard her from your spiteful parents and siblings? The best way to protect your wife is to tell your family that you have problems with your fertility and not your wife! Is it that difficult to do this?  If they understand that their son is the one who is having a problem then they tend to treat their daughter-in-law well (at least they do not hurt her!). This creates a peaceful environment at home both for your wife and also for you!

In our case, my DH is very kind and considerate enough to lie to his parents that the problem is with him. It became very difficult for me when my mother-in-law started questioning each and every week whether we are taking treatment, whether I am taking medicines properly, when was my last menstrual cycle, so on and so forth. I started to dread the telephone conversation with her and became very restless when week-ends come. So my DH told them that, he is the one who is having problem with his fertility. As a result of this many questions which made me uncomfortable vanished! I do feel guilty within myself (isn’t it hard for any parent to know that their offspring has fertility problem?) and I feel very grateful for my DH’s understanding and kindness. Even though it appears very selfish it has made our family life peaceful. I no longer get hurt after a conversation with my mother-in-law and cry for the same. I no longer make my DH’s life miserable by saying that your mom asked this and that. When there is an intrusion from outsiders (yes, even your parents are outsiders when your family life is concerned!) the infertility problem gets magnified several fold.

The stigma associated with infertility tends to continue even after we get pregnant and give birth to a child. Below is an example of this:

Recently I received an e-mail from a couple who is awaiting the birth of their first child formed via IVF. They are very happy but at the same time anxious about whether they should tell their parents and the society, the science behind the creation of their bundle of joy. They wrote ‘In India awareness about IVF is very less. People think that IVF is a technique which is used for infertile couples who are unable to produce their own eggs or sperms. The general belief among the public is, in IVF technique, donor sperms or eggs are used (Thanks to Vicky Donor movie!). In this situation is it even wise to tell them that we conceived our child via IVF?’

 In India, IVF is still very much a taboo subject. Many people strongly hold on to their own fallacies and it is very hard to explain them the scientific facts behind IVF! In this situation, what will happen if the elders in the family think that the child doesn’t carry their family genes? How will the society treat the child if they see the child as multi-parental creation? Won’t it be a danger to the child’s emotional safety? The man particularly wanted to know whether it is OK to tell his parents about the complex IVF procedure. But his wife is very afraid and reluctant to do so.

I could understand his wife's dilemma. She is afraid whether her in-laws will accept the baby as one among them if they have the notion that IVF technique is for couples who use donor eggs or sperms. She is worried about her child’s emotional safety. It is very important for a husband to respect her feelings. Even though they are his parents it is not necessary that he tells them each and every happening in his life. Elders, because of the society in which they grew-up, have a very conservative mind set. It is very hard to change them and make them see the fact. Why should someone worry them with unwanted details? What are they going to do by understanding the facts? It might lead to unnecessary chaos and worries! Let the elders be happy on seeing their grandchild and it is not necessary that they know the mode of creation of their grandchild!

When the child grows up, the parents can tell the child, the science behind his/her formation at an appropriate age. It is mandatory that the baby knows about his/her creation via the parents and not through someone else who is ignorant about the process and can distort the details! This can lead to enormous emotional suffering for the child.

If you are a person who is afraid and depressed of infertility (and is reluctant to explore different treatment options) because of the society in which you live in, my sincere advice would be – you have only one life, live for yourself!


  1. dear manju
    thanks for giving words to my feeling !

  2. Dear Pankaj,

    I should thank you - your thoughts helped me to craft this post! If it could be of help to someone it would be very nice!

  3. That is really, truly awesome of your husband. He sounds like an amazing person.

  4. Jay, nice to see you : ) Hope you are feeling better now; with all the love and protection from your loved ones.
    Yes, he is!!!! Sometimes I even feel he deserves a better wife : D

  5. Dear Manju,
    Very well written!TC.

  6. I just saw your post on the forums, i hope you have another successful FET soon! I am Indian and completely understand where you are coming from, however I have been lucky that my in-laws (modern) don't ask too many questions (they know we did IVF) and my parents are supportive! I also had a successful pregnancy and had a beautiful little girl and just had my transfer today for baby#2! good lk to you, I will be following your blog!

  7. Happy to hear from you. I wish you all good luck and wish you all success! Love to your little girl and I really appreciate your in-laws for being supportive. Keep in touch!

  8. It s a gr8 post.. Thanks Manju :) reading ur post gives an instant gr8 energy n emotional strength.. All d best n God bless u with all u wish for.

  9. Thank you so much : ) May all your dreams and wishes come true too! : )

  10. Yes the fact is that man is responsible for the gender because chromosomes from male partner is distinct. male chromosome are XY while chromosome from female are XX therefore man is purely responsible for the gender of the child and females should not be blamed for it. By the way manju thanks a lot for this post it gave me positivity.


Please do write to me! It makes me happy :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...