India’s first test tube baby now a mother

Harsha and her baby are doing fine, says doctor

March 08, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 07:01 am IST - MUMBAI:

Dr Indira Hinduja (left) and Dr Kusum Zaveri with the eight-hour-old baby boy at Jaslok Hospital on Monday.

Dr Indira Hinduja (left) and Dr Kusum Zaveri with the eight-hour-old baby boy at Jaslok Hospital on Monday.

Barely eight hours old, the still-to-be-named baby boy yawned, twitched his nose, sneezed, and at one point, in a sudden generous mood, smiled, sending the cameras trained on him into a tizzy.

Born on Monday at 10.36 am at Jaslok Hospital to India’s first test tube baby Harsha, the baby boy appeared only too familiar with the media attention that his mother had generated when she was born in 1986.

Harsha Chawda was India’s first test tube baby, a feat that had made IVF specialist Dr Indira Hinduja a household name in the country. So, Dr Hinduja was the natural choice for a gynaecologist when Harsha conceived last year. “I had kept in touch with her all these years. She is my second mother,” Harsha told The Hindu on Monday evening, adding that she had a smooth pregnancy.

Dr Hinduja delivered the child on Monday, 30 years after she had delivered Harsha at KEM Hospital. Along with Dr Hinduja was Dr Kusum Zaveri: the same team that had delivered Harsha. Dr Hinduja said Harsha and her baby are doing fine. “We had to do a caesarean as the baby was presenting a breech (the head was up and the legs were down). He is a healthy and chubby baby and weighed 3.18 kg at birth,” Dr Hinduja said.

Harsha had an arranged marriage with Divyapal Shah, a businessman, last May. As he hovered around the baby in their hospital room on Monday, he said he was never worried whether Harsha will have problems conceiving.

Her mother, Mani Chawda, who took Dr Hinduja’s treatment when many in the country had not even heard of assisted reproduction, said she has been in touch with her doctor all these years. Ms Chawda, a Jogeshwari resident, said she was sure her child will lead a normal, healthy life. Recalling her experience, she said, “I had been married for five years, but didn’t conceive. That’s when my family doctor referred me to Dr Hinduja. He even showed me an article in a Gujarati magazine on children born with assisted reproduction techniques. I visited Dr Hinduja then,” Ms Chawda, now a grandmother, said.

The medical procedure had cost her Rs 20,000. “My husband was a BMC worker. So much of the medical treatment was free for us at KEM hospital,” Ms Chawda said. She lost her husband in 2003.

The test tube baby technique, though in practice in the western world, was not established in India until 1986 with Harsha’s birth. “We had to take so many permissions — from the Ethics committee of KEM Hospital, ICMR,” said Dr Hinduja, who has delivered more than 15,000 test tube babies after Harsha.

Dr Hinduja delivered the child 30 years after she had delivered Harsha

at KEM Hospital

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