Camera: Mukul Bhandari
Editor: Deepthi Ramdas
You are immersed into your work, there is a lot you still want to do, yet somewhere at the back of your mind there is this nagging sound whispering *Babies*. To expunge the thought, all you need to do is watch a working mother juggle kids - not a cake walk. With the bar set high for what it means to be a mother and a female professional, women expect themselves to be perfect at both. It is no wonder that often the thought of having babies seems more like a pressure that clashes with professional aspirations. I’ve been there. And these women I met are going through it now.
“I am married for four years, so any function we go to the first thing people want to know is ‘when is the good news’.”Mousumee Misra, Regional Client Lead at a Food Services Company
“I want to work so that in the future, my child’s life is secure. In fact I don’t have nine months to give, so I would rather go in for a surrogacy technique.”Faizi Khan, Writer and Entrepreneur
“The working woman who is 28 or 29 won’t want to have her babies at 30. She will have other work goals to achieve. But the sheer stress of work and other lifestyle factors can inconspicuously affect fertility. Often by the time women come to me they need assistance. Seven out of ten women do.”Dr. Aastha Gupta, Infertility Specialist
But while Indian women make their choices about when to have their babies, a recent study between Indian and Caucasian women suggested that fertility and age affect different groups of people in more than one way.
A study published in 2014 In ‘Fertility and Sterility’ from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine shows that Indian women’s ovaries age six years earlier than that of their western counterparts.
“Indian women’s ovaries are likely to get exhausted earlier than their western counterparts which is why it is not such a good idea for them to postpone pregnancy as much. The study found that an Indian woman’s ovaries at 29 were similar in terms of ovarian reserve to a Caucasian at 35.”Dr Manish Banker, Medical Director IVI Fertilty
Medical advances have of course caught up with this dilemma and offer ‘solutions’ for having your babies when you want to. But while ‘natural’ conception is always preferable, these alternatives also co-exist.
“Women who want babies one day but not today, can ‘freeze their fertility’ by freezing their eggs such that the age at which your eggs are frozen remains the biological age when you decide to use it. If they come to us in time, we can help them.”Dr. Aastha Gupta, Infertility Specialist, Delhi IVF
“The best time to freeze your fertility is between the age of 28-32. There is a dip in egg quality after 35. Often women come to us in their late thirties or early forties to freeze their eggs, by which time it is already a bit late or it means we need many more eggs to find one of suitable quality.”Dr Manish Banker, Medical Director IVI Fertilty
But despite all the technology in the world, there are some things that only people can do. Arvind Gangadharan who once captained a commercial ship for two decades is a stay at home dad, to his 2 year old son.
“I have a wife who is going places, so I thought if I can give my time to be there for my son’s growing up, then why not.”Arvind Gangadharan, Full Time Dad