For Doctor Indira Hinduja, it was a full circle. On August 6, 1986, she had delivered the city’s first and country’s second test-tube baby, named Harsha at 4.10 pm. On Monday, Harsha Chavda, now 30, gave birth to a boy weighing 3.18 kilos. The delivery took place under the care of Hinduja.
“The baby boy looks like Harsha. I remember her face vividly when she was born,” says mother Manibai Chavda, a BMC worker, who had paid a sum of Rs 20,000 for the IVF procedure back in the eighties at KEM hospital. Eighteen other women had also been undergoing IVF procedure along with her, but her’s was the first successful case in the city. The first test-tube baby in the country was Durga, born in 1978 in Kolkata.
On Monday, in a room in Jaslok hospital’s ninth floor, the cries of the newborn suppressed all the other sounds. Harsha, an accountant, delivered the child at 10.36 am through a caesarean procedure after the doctors found out that the baby had turned upside down in her uterus. The same team had operated upon her mother 30 years ago.
As a happy Harsha fed her baby, her husband Divyapal Shah (35) said that they plan to christen him with a name that starts with ‘J’. “When we told Dr Indira about her pregnancy, she said she will take care of her and deliver our child,” Shah said, adding that the doctor had become a second mother to Harsha.
The couple got married in May last year. Harsha was introduced to Shah through Pratiksha, his sister. “On our marriage day, a lot of people were discussing that she was a test-tube baby. I was surprised to know that a lot of people had read about her,” Shah said.
“IVF procedures were considered a taboo several years ago and it was a topic of discussion in society. That is changing now,” he added.
In 1986, Harsha’s mother Manibai had to take bedrest for nine constant months at KEM hospital to rule out any risks. She was married when she was 20-year-old and for five years she tried to conceive a child but in vain. “Our family doctor told us about the new IVF technique being tried in Mumbai. I decided I want to try it,” said Manibai. Her husband was also a BMC worker, and hence they used to receive medical facilities at subsidised rates.
“A team of doctors had gone to London to understand the procedure for IVF deliveries. They showed us pictures of how it is done. That gave us confidence,” she added. According to Hinduja, Manibai had a blocked fallopian tube due to tuberculosis. In the IVF process, the eggs were retrieved and fused with the father’s sperms. The embryo was then placed in her uterus. Since her’s was the first such case in the city, the hospital decided to keep her admitted for nine months.
Harsha was delivered through a caesarean surgery. “I delivered the mother and then I delivered her baby. It is a special feeling,” Hinduja said.
According to Dr Bhupendra Awasthi, neonatologist who used to regularly check Harsha’s growth parameters, she was a healthy baby who grew normally like other babies. “Since she was the first, we used to check whether there are any growth abnormalities or congenital defects,” Awasthi said. Harsha’s own delivery went uneventful.
The baby boy slept through most of the day.