In her words, Rajo Devi Lohan got ‘everything she ever wanted in her life’ when she conceived a baby girl at the National Fertlity Center (NFC), Hissar, through In Vitro Fertilisation Treatment. She bled for several days and was put in a ventilator. Baba Ram, her husband, had mortgaged his farm and sold his buffaloes to fund Rajo’s treatment. At 70, Rajo had become the world’s oldest mother.
Three years later, Rajo and her husband works in the fields to make ends meet. Naveen, her 3year old daughter devotedly follows Rajo everywhere. In the villages of Haryana, India, the social stigma of being barren is so much that the women prefer to risk their lives trying to conceive through IVF treatment than die without a child.
At the NFC, where they treat 100 women per month, as much as 20% of the patients are above 50yrs, according to Dr.M.R.Biswas. There are no medical laws in India restricting IVF treatment in elderly women. The doctors of the fertility center in Hissar claim they are doing a service by giving these women a chance to procreate.
It is common practice for men to re-marry if their wives are unable to conceive. Baba Ram had married Rajo’s younger sister when Rajo had proved to be barren. But all hope was lost, when the younger sister also couldn’t give him children. He says that until Naveen came into their lives, people used to consider it inauspicious to invite their family to weddings and other celeberations.
As India’s population continues to grow over 1.2 billion, women above the age of 50 continue to flock to NFC, Hissar to fulfill their dream of becoming a mother. When she was asked what would happen to Naveen once Rajo and Baba is gone from this world, Rajo says, “I have faith that God will look after her.”