A couple expecting their baby cherishes especially the last few months before it is born. The woman, having got over her morning sickness, regains her appetite, can feel the baby kicking, and is confident of her impending motherhood. The excitement of making plans is exhilarating. Niketa and Harsh Mehta are one such middle-class Indian couple, who, when the pregnancy was 24 weeks old, were told that the foetus is likely to be born with a serious heart defect. The Bombay High Court has turned down their petition seeking a provision to permit termination of pregnancy. What can the Mehtas do?
A congenital heart block is a potentially serious condition. It is caused by a defective electrical circuit which hampers the rhythmic pumping action of the heart, thus interfering with the supply of oxygenated blood to the body. Depending on its severity, it might require the use of an artificial pacemaker, which is a mechanical device inserted in the body to take over the function of the electrical circuit.