How India makes Parsi babies

Kamakhan and her husband had spent all their savings on unsuccessful IVF treatment, and had given up hope of having a child. Then she heard about Jiyo Parsi – a government-funded scheme set up to encourage Parsi couples to have bigger families.

Kamakhan got in touch with a gynaecologist associated with the scheme who promised to find out what the problem was and solve it.

“Persis had dealt with a lot of disappointments,” says Dr Anita Pandole, recalling their first meeting. “Of course, we counselled her there was no guarantee she would get pregnant. But when she did her first cycle with us, she conceived. First time, first shot.”

Hufriya was born in October – one of 30 babies delivered so far with the support of the Jiyo Parsi scheme. Seven of them, like Hufriya, were delivered as a result of fully paid-for fertility treatment – the scheme operates a sliding scale of financial assistance for IVF, depending on a couple’s income. A further 17 women are pregnant. The aim is to deliver 200 new Parsi babies over five years.

“It’s very gratifying,” says Pandole, who is also a Parsi. “We are such a small community that even if there is just one extra Parsi baby, I think it’s a good thing.”

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