There are 30 million couples in India who are struggling to conceive, yet infertility and IVF is still a subject spoken about in whispers. We turned to the team at ART Fertility and asked them to explain.
IVF remains a subject still spoken about in whispers in India. Why do you think this is?
In rural areas, communities and many places within India, IVF is a taboo and so yes, spoken about in whispers. This really is due to a lack of awareness around infertility and the pressure of social cultural factors.
This lack of awareness, or “fertility education”, means that many people do not understand the real reason why a couple may struggle to conceive – they do not understand that there may be an underlying medical condition such as PCOS, endometriosis or poor sperm quality for example, that is stopping them from conceiving. They are also unaware that with the assistance of reproductive medicine, they could achieve their dreams of parenthood. Instead of looking for medical help, most couples instead turn to religion for help and guidance.
Is the shame that is often attached to infertility, brought on upon by cultural attitudes?
Most Likely. Family plays a very high role in Indian communities and cultures, and having children, and continuing the family lineage is so very important. In fact in some societies, the minute a couple gets married, there is an expectation from the elders for them to have a child as soon as possible.
This can have a huge mental impact on the couple, especially when you understand that in a lot of communities, infertile couples are looked down upon and not even allowed to attend family celebrations. Can you imagine how difficult this must be on a couple, who so desperately want to have their own family but don’t know the real reason why they can’t?
How can we change this peer pressure respectfully?
This can addressed by providing support to the couple, spreading awareness and involving them in the decision making process.
We want to help couples and their families see that infertility is nothing to be ashamed about, by sharing clear and informed facts and helping them see that there is a solution, in the form of assisted reproductive medicine.
We want to highlight the fact that 30 million couples in India are struggling with Infertility, and that with the correct medical diagnostics, they could find out why they are struggling and then discuss a plan with their doctor.
Infertility is a disease that requires medical assistance if you want a family. It requires a diagnosis and a plan. It is not something to be ashamed of.
What are attitudes towards fertility treatment like in India?
Due to the taboo associated with infertility in India, attitudes towards fertility treatments are not very good. They are shrouded by misconception, fear and negativity around them. This is why we want to start spreading awareness now so that we can start to help more couples achieve their dreams.
We want to explain that fertility treatment is achievable, affordable, and nothing to fear.
What are attitudes like towards donor conception?
Donor conception is widely not accepted by either of the partners. They have a feeling of not being able to run their genetic progeny by themselves, and refuse to take any donor conception. However, we have a team of amazing counsellors and clinicians who can talk to couples who are struggling with their infertility diagnosis or the realisation that they might need to use a donor.
Are attitudes towards changing for the better?
Yes. Despite the fact that infertility is still seen as a taboo subject, attitudes are changing for the better. Awareness regarding infertility causes and access to IVF treatments is growing and so we hope that as a result, more couples can become parents. We would also like to say that if anyone has any questions, they can contact us and know that everything discussed is spoken about in complete confidence. Simply click here to get in touch with us.
If you are feeling the pressure from family and peers, and are not sure which way to turn, do get in touch with the counsellors at ART Fertility. They are there to listen, guide and support you. Click here to connect with the team.
To learn more about infertility and IVF in India, watch this fascinating interview with Vinesh Gadhia, CEO of ARTFertility.