16 apr 2016
AN IVF doctor who famously created the world’s oldest first-time mum is encouraging British women to fly to India for treatment.
Dr Anurag Bishnoi, 39, who heads the National Fertility Centre in Hisar, North-West India, has for the last eight years been responsible for making hundreds of older women, aged over 60, mothers for the first time.
And he is so proud of his achievements he is welcoming British women turned away from UK IVF centres because of their age to make an appointment at his clinic.
Dr Anurag Bishnoi at his clinic in Hisar, India
Baby hopes … IVF expert Dr Bishnoi at his clinic in Hisar, India Shariq Allaqaband / Cover Asia Press
He said: “A woman’s age is no factor for me when I consider helping her become a mother.
“I am only concerned with their pre and post-pregnancy health.
“Death cannot be controlled: nobody can guarantee a person’s life. Young women even die during childbirth.
“We cannot deny treating older women just in case they will not live to see their children grow.
Women of all ages wait to see Dr Bishnoi
Last chance … women of all ages wait to see Dr Bishnoi Shariq Allaqaband / Cover Asia Press
“I feel it’s my duty to help women cherish their role as a woman and become mothers no matter what their age.”
Guidelines in the UK suggest that women over 42 should not be given IVF, according to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.
The age limit for NHS-funded fertility treatments in Scotland is 38, and 39 in Northern Ireland.
But India’s medical culture emphasises the mother’s right to create life rather than the rights of the child — and doctors do not need to take into account a mother’s age, only her physique.
Dr Bishnoi has single-handedly been creating the world’s oldest mums for almost a decade after his own mother started the trend.
World’s oldest first-time mum, Rajo, and daughter Naveen
Joy … world’s oldest first-time mum, Rajo, and daughter Naveen Shariq Allaqaband / Cover Asia Press
He said: “My parents were gynaecology doctors so I grew up around talk of women desperate for children and how important it was for them to become a mother.
“My mother was an IVF genius and she was the one who started accepting older women at our clinic.
“One day a woman aged 48 came in and she was desperate to become a mother. She was healthy and further tests proved she was fit to carry so we went ahead. It was successful and word soon spread.”
But it was only in 2008 when Dr Bishnoi helped Rajo Devi give birth at 70 that his patient list went through the roof.
Rajo successfully becoming a mother so late in life was a huge chapter in Indian IVF history.
Naveen Devi was born thanks to Dr Bishnoi
Miraculous … Naveen, four, was born thanks to Dr Bishnoi Shariq Allaqaband / Cover Asia Press
Rajo — now 75 and still the world’s oldest first-time mum — admits to loving life with her four-year-old daughter, Naveen.
She said: “I don’t feel ashamed about becoming a first time mother at 70. I enjoyed it.
“It was a wonderful experience and I appreciated it much more at 70 than I would’ve done at 25.
“Being a mother — finally — has been wonderful. I feel very proud to be the oldest first-time mother in the world.
“I want to show other childless women that it’s possible — go and get treated, don’t wait a second.”
Bhateri Devi gave birth to her son and daughter at 66
Unusual … Bhateri Devi gave birth to her son and daughter at 66 Shariq Allaqaband / Cover Asia Press
Dr Bishnoi said: “We now see 6,000 women a month and 30 per cent of those are aged above 50.
“That’s approximately 1,800 women a month who are old enough to be grandmothers, never mind first time mothers, it’s quite amazing.”
An IVF cycle with Dr Bishnoi costs around £2,000, which is far cheaper that the £3,000 price tag in Britain.
Dr Bishnoi added: “Couples without children don’t feel part of normal society, it has terrible consequences on a couple’s self-esteem.
“For many, the joy of motherhood is far more important than seeing their children grow up to marry.”
Bhateri’s children were born three years ago
Breakthrough … Bhateri’s children were born three years ago Shariq Allaqaband / Cover Asia Press
But Dr Bishnoi doesn’t deny the risks involved.
He added: “We often abort babies if there is a serious risk to the woman’s life but it’s very rare. And all women over 45 have a caesarean delivery, never a natural birth.
“As long as my 60 and 70-year-old patients are fit I’ll continue to help them become mothers.”