Designer Babies: The Facts About In Vitro Fertilization

Designer babies — more commonly known as test-tube and IVF (in vitro fertilization) babies — are a fast growing, and in some cases even a preferred, option today. IVF clinics across the capital reflect this and show that women today are not shy of exploring their options. While in most cases, the IVF is done with the egg and the sperm of the wife and husband, in cases where donors are required the avenue to customise your baby is very substantial.

"We have a colour complex in this country and this is predominant when couples or single women choose a donor. Almost all of them want a fair child, even if the parents are not that fair. A clean medical history, good background and education are other concerns. Also, most couples prefer the donor to be from their religion," says Dr Sohani Verma, IVF specialist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital. Resemblance to the husband is also a concern for most people.

While medical history is the prime concern for clinics and hospitals that provide IVF, they say a background check is very difficult. "The sperm donors earn Rs 500-600 per donation so obviously they are from a middle-class background. But for egg donations more and more women are now coming in as it earns them anywhere between Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000. A lot depends on their profile and most of them are housewives," says Dr Diksha Tyagi of the Delhi IVF Fertility Research Centre.

The lack of proper medical guidelines and uncertain laws on IVF are reasons why many people are turned away. Almost all doctors agree that it is difficult to entertain requests from live -in couples, gay couples and even single parents. "There is no social security system where we can check the background of the person. It is difficult to judge the character and the intentions of the people therefore the ethical committees usually turn these requests down," says Verma. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is in the process of making guidelines for IVF — the first guidelines to be formulated in the country.

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