The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mum at 63, dad at 74
- Medical miracle gives couple a boy

Calcutta, Feb. 23: A 63-year-old woman suffering from diabetes and hypertension created medical history today after she gave birth to a baby boy in a private hospital in Erode, Tamil Nadu.

Papathi Subramanium had menopause 20 years ago, but that did not stop her or her 74-year-old husband from craving for a child of their own as they moved from one clinic to the other in the hope that infertility experts could help Papathi become a mother through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) or assisted reproductive techniques.

Her dream was realised around noon after she gave birth to a healthy baby boy, weighing 1.75 kg, with the aid of blasto-cyst culture technology, an advanced form of IVF technique, which increases the chances of childbirth in older women.

“She is probably the oldest woman to give birth to a child in the country, but we will have to scan the records to know for sure. We broke the news to her husband and relatives after conducting a successful caesarean section at noon. The medical team which was monitoring both mother and child is absolutely over the moon,” Sadashivam, the chairman of Maruti Medical Centre and Hospital in Erode told The Telegraph over phone.

Married in 1959, the Subramaniums have been trying to become parents through the IVF procedure ever since without success. Papathi’s search ended at the Maruti Medical Centre in Erode last June when experts told her that she could become a mother provided all pre-IVF examinations were okay.

“But a few tests revealed that it was not a fit case for an IVF procedure. Apart from the age factor, the woman was diabetic and had also stopped ovulation decades back. The hormone secretion had stopped and she was hypertensive and we discouraged her from taking the plunge,” Sadashivam explained.

“Her businessman husband is a cardiac patient with three prior attacks and a pacemaker implant,” he added.

However, with the couple remaining adamant, a medical team led by IVF expert Nirmala Sadashivam decided to go ahead. After a series of medical tests and subsequent therapies, doctors combined sperms taken from Papathi’s husband and an egg donated by a close relative and placed them in an incubator, where it was allowed to fertilise for five days.

In the common IVF method, the fertilised embryo is transferred to the uterus of the woman after two days of incubation. But, in the blasto-cyst culture adopted by doctors in Erode, the embryo was allowed to fertilise for at least five days before it was placed in Papathi’s uterus.

The doctors monitored the baby’s growth and administered necessary injections throughout the next few months until Monday, when they decided to conduct a surgery.

“After birth, the baby was immediately placed in an incubator, where he will remain for the next four days for observation. In any case, both child and mother are doing well,” Sadashivam added.

Papathi reportedly told attending nurses after regaining consciousness that all she wanted to do was thank God for answering her prayer.

Now that child-bearing is over, child-rearing could prove to be the even harder part — at least younger parents would agree.

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