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IVF gifts second baby at 52

A woman in her 50s who lost her 15-year-old son in an accident two years ago has given birth to a second child with the help of in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

Rina Mandal, 52, delivered a baby boy on December 11, almost two years after her first-born drowned during a school picnic on December 30, 2011.

Rina and husband Tapan Mandal, residents of Ghatshila, decided to have a second child in June 2012. “I was not afraid of social stigma, I had the support of friends and family. But I was apprehensive whether I would be able to deliver the baby in good health,” said the 52-year-old woman.

The baby weighed 3kg at birth and is in good health, doctors said. “Getting a pregnancy through at the age of 50 is not easy. The baby can be delivered prematurely because the mother might not be able to carry the full term,” said Ranjit Chakraborti, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Woodlands hospital who delivered the baby. “There is also a possibility of a growth-retarded baby.”

Doctors said there has been a spurt in middle-aged couples opting for IVF — a process where an egg is fertilised by sperm outside the body — after losing their only child early.

Baidyanath Chakraborty, the director of the Institute of Reproductive Medicine, said at least 15 to 20 women aged 38 to 60 consult him for IVF treatment every year. “Ten years ago, the number was much lower. The success rate has gone up because of advance in technology,” he said.

But doctors warned that older couples opting for IVF should undergo medical screening to avoid health hazards.