For a large number of childless non-resident Indian couples, Jalandhar city in Punjab is a place where they have found the biggest joy of their lives--a child.
Many childless non-resident Indian (NRI) couples visit Jalandhar exclusively for test tube babies. The major draw to this specific city is the inexpensive medical cost in comparison to hospitals abroad.
In foreign, it costs about one to one-and-a-half million rupees whereas it costs just rupees 100,000 to 150,000 in Jalandhar hospitals.
"I have come here because it is a lot cheaper and people are more understanding about our feelings of how we feel as childless couples. There are a lot of medicines which we don't get provided in England to pick the insides literally. All they give you are medicines. But here the hospitals provide you with facilities which are very good," said Neelam, one of the NRIs from United Kingdom.
There are a number of hospitals in Jalandhar, equipped with such facilities, which draw 35 percent of their income from NRI patients. These hospitals receive a total of around 250 patients per year for test tube babies of which over 100 are NRIs.
"We have so far managed to provide 9,000 to 10,000 couples with children through (invitro fertilization technique) test tube baby technique during the past 15 years. With the efforts of our dedicated team comprising endoscopic surgeons and our central group, we have been able to make our mark in foreign countries like America, Canada, UK, Germany, Holland, Australia and New Zealand besides India," said Dr S. P. S Virk, Managing Director of Virk Hospital.
Moreover, finding surrogate mothers is also easy here. Abroad, it takes years to locate one.
NRI patients prefer India to any other country for test tube babies as not only does it reduces their expenditure but also provides them an opportunity to spend some time in India with their relatives.