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Joined: 19 January 2007
"Am I really a woman?Why was I even born if I can't even fulfill my basic responsibility? Why is God punishing me?
These are some of the questions that haunt a woman who cannot conceive and is looked down upon by friends and family.
Women who can't have kids have had many different names and labels over the centuries.
"Barren", the most starkly horrible one comes from Middle English word 'barain' which originally refers to anything that isn't fruitful - women, animals, plants, landscapes, even thoughts.
Most women who are unable to gain pregnancy, are soon consumed with an obsession to become pregnant, as if to confirm that they are able to fulfill one of nature's roles, motherhood. Women therefore take the infertility problem personally, even where the medical condition might be attributable to the husband or man in the woman's life. Infertility is an emotional roller coaster, the hell is multiplied, by the fact that infertility is summarily a nd blindly blamed on them!
A 42 year old woman living in Mumbai still remembers the stigma of being unable to bear children for the first 13 years of her marriage. People ask a woman's name and then, How many children do you have? When the woman answers None, she says, "they don't know what they can talk to you about." She finally conceived a daughter and twin boys. With her doctor, she started a support group to help give other infertile couples the help she wished she had had. "There were a lot of emotional questions, and I needed support, and there was nobody for me."
In some developing countries, the consequences of infertility which can include ostracism, physical abuse and even suicide, are heartbreaking. "If you are infertile in some cultures, you are less than a dog", says Willem Ombelet of the Genk Institute for Fertility Technology in Belgium. Some women who are often uneducated, their only identity comes from being Mothers. "Infertility is an issue of profound human suffering rather than a pathological disorder, particularly for women", says Marcia Inhorn, Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at Yale University. "It's a human-rights issue."
The stigma that infertile women face can infiltrate every aspect of life. They may not even be invited to weddings or other important gatherings. "People see them as having a 'bad eye' that will make you infertile, too. Infertile women are considered inauspicious", says Inhorn. Their reasoning: they could spoil it
"Often the female takes the blame even when the problem lies with the man", says Inhorn. The women often keep their husband's secret and bear the insults. In Chad, a proverb says, "A woman without children is like a tree without leaves". If a woman doesn't bear children, their husbands may leave them or take new wives with society's blessing.
Alex Jones, broadcaster and co-host of BBC's The One Show, said: "While exploring my own fertility and meeting couples experiencing fertility problems through making the documentary, I've been shocked by the amount of myths and misconceptions about fertility that contribute to a lack of awareness among both men and women. Infertility is heart breaking and I fully support anything that can be done to help educate young people about the facts to help them decide when, or if, to start a family".
|| -Koeli_Appy- | PanchaliKaArjun | ColorDreams ||
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Joined: 11 December 2015
This comes around as a huge step, with 1 out of 6 couples ready to undergo synthetic treatment in case they fail to conceive.
Perceptions in India have changed. From blaming women to not be able to achieve motherhood and treating her as a taboo, we've come a long way to now. The awareness and acceptance has increased as more and more people are willing to participate in such treatments.
The first test tube baby in India, Harsha Chawda, was born in Mumbai's KEM hospital in 1996. She's now a proud mother of a boy.
However, the social stigma around artificial fertilization has not been eradicated completely.
Biological experts say that people still are unwilling to discuss about their choice of going for conception techniques. They choose to talk about it only to their close relatives. And when the woman is pregnant, they usually pretend to having conceived naturally.
Research points out that only 10 to 20% people publicly accept about having a test tube baby. There is still a misconception that they're unnatural and are 'produced' in a lab.
Amongst all this, the success rate of IVF has been appreciably good. But sometimes, the effort is exhausting.
A 39 year old woman shares her experience, how she managed to get pregnant in her eighth IVF attempt.
On the other hand, a woman shares that fertilization is a private matter to discuss and people may not choose to share their experiences. She'd been unsuccessful in her attempts through IVF and hence chose Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI).
Psychologists share that the stigma around it is large cause people tend to look at it as a woman's shortcoming rather than a medical problem.
"A woman who is unable to conceive looks at this situation as her own failure, rather than non functioning of her fallopian tubes".
Men too, take it as a defect in their wives, instead of understanding that the problem can belong to either of them will equal probability.
Amidst all the backwardness and orthodox mentality, the only silver lining that exists is of awareness and fertility education. Conducting workshops and discussing about these problems can make people open to accept them and go ahead with techniques like IUI and IVF and perhaps change our perspective on infertility.
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