In 1954, Bala Ram, a resident of Alewa village in Jind district of Haryana, brought home a bride. After 10 years of a childless marriage, Ram married his wife`s younger sister in the hope of having kids. However, the joys of parenthood continued to elude this village land-owner, according to Times of India. But now, 55 years after they got married, Ram`s first wife has delivered a child.
Rajo Devi, 70, became perhaps the world`s oldest mother when she delivered a girl child on November 28, 2008 with the help of in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment at a Hisar fertility centre. Rajo had entered menopause 20 years ago.
Dr Anurag Bishnoi of Hisar`s National Fertility Centre, who helped the couple realize their dream, told TOI that both the mother and child were in good health.
"Adriana Iliescu, a retired university lecturer in Romania, was till date the oldest woman to have given birth. She delivered at the age of 66 in 2006. Maria Del, a Spanish woman, gave birth by the IVF treatment at the age of 67. And now, Rajo Devi has become the oldest woman to have given birth and the first woman in her seventies to do so," claimed Dr Bishnoi.
"Another woman of her age is reported to have delivered a child at Muzzafarnagar, but she was previously fertile," he added.
The septuagenarian parents are over the moon. Said Rajo Devi, "We longed for a child all these years and now we are very happy to have one in the twilight years of our life.
Ram wasn`t worrying over who will look after the child. "The upbringing of the child is not a problem. We have a joint family as is common in rural Haryana," said the 72-year-old father. The couple said they were facing social stigma for being childless for the last 55 years.
"We used the usual intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) technique in her case. The ICSI method enables even poor quality sperms being used creating embryos," said Dr Bishnoi.
He said his parents and wife, all doctors, performed the procedure together. "The major concern for us was that in case the woman conceived twins, she may not be able to carry them through the full term of pregnancy. In that case, all over efforts would have failed and the woman`s life would have been in danger," Bishnoi said.
To avoid multiple pregnancies, the doctors used blastocyst culture, where a single potential embryo is transferred to the uterus instead of the normal two to three embryos. "This embryo is transferred after five days in this technique, while in normal cases it is done in two-three days," he added.
"Rajo is the eldest of four siblings. She is elder to me by about 16 years. We all prayed she would get a child and even married our other sister to Bala Ram in this hope. Now the whole family is very happy that she has a child," said Chand Ram, Rajo Devi`s brother who is a sub inspector in Haryana Police at Panchkula.