Mumbai: Infertility, to those faced by it, can be as emotionally debilitating as the loss of a loved one. Most people find it extremely hard to accept that they are infertile andthe stress of denial can even lead to serious psychological problems.
After dealing with scores of couples who approached them with such issues, Dr Aniruddha Malpani and wife Anjali formed a support group called Infertility Friends where men and women who have overcome their circumstances help counsel those still coming to terms with it. The group has been around for 15 years and is still going strong. Infertility Friends is the first such support group in the country for infertility. It is a registered charitable trust run by infertile couples and provides a forum for infertile couples where they can get together to discuss their experiences with each other, and derive strength from their collective experiences.
“Infertility is not just a medical condition, it has emotional and psychological ramifications. Speaking to others who have been through a similar experience is like an emotional catharsis for others with the same condition,” Dr Malpani says.
“However, these days, with commuting becoming a huge problem, the group meets very rarely. So, we have moved the group online, where couples find the anonymity reassuring,” Dr Malpani adds. For those interested, the website is called infertilityfriends.org . Dr Malpani says, “The forum also helps bust some myths related to infertility like: Infertility is a woman’s problem; my spouse might leave me if we can’t conceive a child; this is God’s way of telling us we cannot be parents, and so on.
While well-meaning friends and relatives will offer advice, those who have actually had infertility treatment are better equipped to bust such myths.
Dr Malpani says among the frequently asked questions are — is IVF painful? Does it cause excessive hair growth? And, doctors’ answers are generally taken with a pinch of salt. It is only those who have gone through the treatment who will inspire confidence in others, Dr Malpani adds.