Help for Parsi women to fight infertility

Help for Parsi women to fight infertility
13 Jul 2008, 0623 hrs IST, Ketan Tanna,TNNMUMBAI: It was a casual request from Bombay Parsi Punchayet chief Minoo Shroff that resulted in gynaecologist Dr Anahita Pandole taking on the assignment of helping Parsi couples battling infertility problems.

Three years down the line, she has handled 200 cases of whom 80 women have conceived. One woman had triplets while 10 others bore twins.

Anahita Hakim, 34, is one such woman; she is the mother of twin girls named Katrina and Karina. “I wanted children for the last five years I even thought of adopting children before I came to Dr Pandole, who helped me have Katrina and Karina,” she said.

The fertility treatment did not come cheap and Hakim had to spend between Rs 6 and 7 lakh. The initial consultation was free and the treatment tab was picked by the Bombay Parsi Punchayet. For those who could not pay, large-hearted donors within the community offer ed financial help.

Pandole’s project is part of a larger United Nations-backed programme called Parzor, headquartered in Delhi. Since 1999, the Parzor project has undertaken research in various fields, working towards the promotion and preservation of the Parsi heritage.

The demography project, under the umbrella of Parzor, has thrown up interesting facts about the declining Parsi population. According to the 2001 census, India’s Parsi population had fallen to 69,601 from 76,382 a decade earlier. According to the 2001 census, the child-woman ratio, a key indicator of fertility, is 578 per 1,000 in India. Among the Parsis, it is 85 per 1,000.

Meanwhile,a study on Delhi Parsis concentrated on community members married to Parsis, inter-marriages, unmarried and the youth. The demographic profile of the Parsis in Delhi tends to appear more in favour of the 30-50 working group rather than the ageing picture seen elsewhere.

In view of the fairly unique position held by the Delhi Parsis, a study was proposed to inquire into their migratory history, their current situation and record their views and attitudes pertaining to various issues and problems facing the community.

According to Shernaz Cama, honourary director at Parzor, it was a qualitative study based on interviews. All those interviewed realised that the community was in flux and that “someone had to do something”. However, few were willing to be that someone, the study rued.

(ketan.tanna@timesgroup.com)