Agony and ecstasy of IVF conception in urban nuclear families | S. Shanth Kumar

INFERTILITY stalks polluted Indian cities adding more stress to young couples seeking to raise a family. A whopping 45% of couples suffer from this problem which has spread its tentacles to Tier1 and Tier 2 cities. Of the top fifteen most polluted cities in the world, 14 are in India, according to a World Health organisation study. Doctors claim rising infertility rates are based on the lifestyle changes resulting in stress and obesity caused by lack of physical exercise, changes in eating habits and pollution accompanied by medical disorders like diabetes. Many infertile couples turn to medical procedures like IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation).

In this photo essay, photojournalist Shanth Kumar captures his and his wife’s intesnsely personal and emotionally rattling journey of starting a family through IVF.

Dhanya wondering about IVF over coffee.
Dhanya awaiting her turn for medical consultation at the IVF counter of the hospital.
Inside the consultation room, still bewildered and uncertain.
Finally, examination over; waiting to begin the IVF process.
HCG injections, essential for IVF, can cause depression, mood swings and irritability as side effects of hormone changes in the body.
Empty injection syringes used for fertility treatment before the IVF procedure are seen arranged in the picture
Dhanya reacts while doing her household chores. treatment for the IVF causes a hormonal imbalance which causes mood swing among others.
Dhanya’s mother comforts her when the first attempt to conceive fails and she is heartbroken.
Dhanya having to use inhalation to deal with her asthma in a polluted city in the midst of her IVF ordeal.
Finally, she is in the last trimester of her pregnancy.
The child’s grandparents are the first to see the child.
Dhanya finally gets to see her child.
Diya lights up her mother.