Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Nurturing Motherhood On Petri Dish

Updated: March 17, 2012 4:25 pm

Motherhood knows no bounds. Dr Archana Dhawan Bajaj, a veritable test tube baby expert at Nurture, a world-class advanced fertility and IVF Centre at Rajouri Garden, has learnt it through scores of children who frolic in Afghanistan. They are of course cynosure of their parents in faraway homes but their ‘real’ mother stays here in India. For Dr (Mrs) Bajaj, nothing is more fulfilling than ‘gifting’ babies to childless couples who trek all the way from the war-ravaged country to have their bundles of joy.

Dr Bajaj, who only consummates them on a Petri dish, feels as if she bore them all in her own womb because as they matured she shared the same moments of anguish and hope that their mothers really bearing them went through. She gets utmost satisfaction as her territory of affection and love transcends the artificial borders. In fact, she is the biggest Delhi exporter of happiness to infertile and childless couples in Afghanistan. As high as 50 couples from Afghanistan, come every month to her clinic Nurture.

So far she has been able to deliver more than 500 test tube babies but she undergoes the pangs also of failures as intensely as the real parents. She says: “Handing out babies to childless couple is a passion for me, so I always happen to alternate between happiness at the success and sadness at the failure. Every failure of the cycle is a personal failure. It is a veritable ‘labour pain’, so to say.” With take baby home success rate of more than 36 per cent, a rate only a few IVF centres would match, Dr Bajaj finds this procedure and the attendant vigil on the maturing baby a very taxing one. Here music comes handy in handling her tense moments. She sings to relax. A teacher still comes to teach her singing.

Dr Bajaj is particularly subdued by the tenacity of the childless couples to get their bundles of joy. They do not want to leave any ‘sperm or ovum’ unturned to get the sunshine for their ‘empty’ homes. The motherly passion is borne out by one of her clients, 33-years-old Mukti, who got blessed with two sons Tejas and Rajas after 17 failed cycles. Think of it: a baby at more than 15 lakh rupees. She is very active on Facebook and flaunts her precious find with gay abandon. On her Facebook she writes—“Dr Bajaj planted seeds of life in me, gifted me two little ones who made my life.” Dr Bajaj considers her the greatest trophy of her success in her entire stint of assisted fertility. She says: “She had 15 failures somewhere else. When she came to me I tried to convince her that now the only option left was to adopt but she was far from relenting. Two cycles failed in my center too but as was ordained, she made it in the 18th cycle.”

On Mother’s Day every year, Dr Bajaj is swamped by letters, SMSs, cards, calls paintings, flowers, thank you cards bearing touching words like “thanks ma’am.” Some of them call her “asli mummy”. On the back hangs a very telling painting sent not long ago from USA by the test tube boy of an NRI doctor. There is a baby protruding through the broken corner of the outer covering. Written overhead is: Thanks Dr Archana Bajaj.

Whatever the amount of money spent, once a couple gets their bundle of joy, it is always a gift for them. The money spent is nothing compared to the fund of joy they get. But Dr (Mrs) Bajaj gifts child literally too. She does it free for some who have no money but unfathomable urge for motherhood.

To bring India, Afghanistan and Pakistan on the same page of love and affection is an impossible feat to achieve but Dr Bajaj has done it with great success. Think of an Afghani lady coming to India to conceive and delivering the baby on Pakistani territory. Is it not a ‘love triangle’ impossible to think diplomatically? Dr Bajaj delivered this diplomacy on a Petri dish. Petri dish is a crucible in IVF laboratory where ovum and sperms mingle to create babies.

A young childless Afghani couple; 25-year-old Sufiya with her 35-year-old husband Hamid visited Nurture last year. Her husband was suffering from zero sperm. With IVF done at Nurture, Sufia gave birth to a baby boy in Pakistan early this year.

Having received extensive training in England and being trained in all aspects of infertility treatment and reproductive medicine, she is in an enviable position of doling out smiles to childless couples.

By D Kumar

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