Khorshed Bulsara (38) is a symbol of hope for the Parsi community. Khorshed stands apart in the dwindling community as she gave birth to triplets on September 2005, after receiving IVF treatment.
She and three other Parsi women who gave birth to twins will now be beneficiaries of the Parenthood Programme undertaken by the community, headed by Dr Anahita Pandole, obstetrician and gynecologist. The programme offers counseling and clinical treatment to Parsi couples who want to have children.
Parsis in India have declined from 76,383 in 1991 to 69,601 in 2001 according to a report by the Institute of Economic Growth, New Delhi. A Parsi community leader said the number might have fallen further.
The mother of two daughters Veera and Vahbiz and son Behraam, Khorshed approached Dr Pandole for professional help as part of an initiative of the Parsi Panchayat to find a solution to the problem.
Khorshed and her husband Khusro (40), a deputy general manager at the Bombay Stock Exchange, were unable to have children and had approached various doctors for three years to address the problem.
“Dr Anahita was our last resort. Moreover, it makes a huge difference when the community comes forward to address a problem,” she said. Her message to the community: “Get married early and seek counseling and treatment for problems without hesitance.”
Said Dr Pandole, “Ninety per cent of the problems in Parsi couples can be treated by surgical, medical and reproductive techniques.” Ninety couples have approached her in the past 20 months since the Parenthood Programme has been started and 11 couples have borne children.
“Fourty per cent of couples who approached for treatment are between the age of 35-40 whereas 20 per cent are above 40 years.” She says the programme is a positive step and phone calls and e-mails have come in from Parsis across the country. People have come in from Baroda and Nagpur to receive treatment.
Dr Anahita said three other Parsi women have given birth to twins under the programme. “Two have given birth to twin girls, whereas one has given birth to a girl and a boy. They have been treated under the IVF and the Intra Uterine Insemination in the past two years.”