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Densely populated India, Hotbed of Fertility Centers
HISAR, India — Inside a crowded rural hospital, gray-haired Nananki Rohtash rested on a cot, her swollen legs elevated while her sister-in-law paced nearby. Rohtash is a 60-year-old mother of five and a grandmother of eight.
She's also nine months' pregnant, the result of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic, one of hundreds that have opened recently in India, urging clients to "Come alone. Leave as a family. Age no bar."
With 1.2 billion people, India is growing rapidly, and there are few efforts to control population growth, in sharp contrast to China's one-child policy. Some planning advocates argue that India's population is stalling development, adding to unemployment, and overwhelming roads, schools, water supplies and other basic infrastructure needs.
There are no government regulations for IVF clinics, especially in rural areas of northern India, and women older than 50 make up a surprising number of their patients, in a country where giving birth to many children defines a woman's worth and is considered parents' best chance for financial security.