Fertility Treatment in a Dinky Indian Medical Clinic

Don’t ask me what I was thinking undergoing fertility treatment in India. Here’s an excerpt from the memoir I am currently penning. 


The nurse points to the bathroom door at the end of the short corridor, “Pass urine.”

Donning the pair of worn, communal rubber sandals placed at the doorway, I enter the washroom. The floor is wet. The floor is always wet. The surfaces are soiled. Stale urine suffocates the air. I remove a fistful of tissues from my handbag to replace the non-existent toilet paper and I squat over the hole in the floor to empty my bladder in preparation for the procedure. A bucket of water sits adjacent and a small cracked jug bobs on the surface in readiness to flush the toilet.

Exiting the bathroom, I sit rigidly on the rickety chair in the hallway, stagnant in the quietness of the sparse corridor. My fingers drum a quick beat against my thighs and break the stillness. My breath is shallow. A nurse yanks aside the curtain shielding the matchbox-size theatre and the plastic drapery rings play a frantic tune on the metal rod, while the semi-naked patient inside scrambles to cover herself with a robe. The nurse’s dark pinball eyes take aim at me. “Madam Sarah.” Her voice is surly. “Remove innerwear.”

Entering the curtained cave, I slide my underpants down my legs.

“Hang,” the nurse points to a rusted nail hammered into the wall. It’s the Indian version of a clothes hook.

My knickers now drape conspicuously from the bare wall at eye level, like a haunting piece of artwork. I climb onto the old-fashioned, metal-framed bed and lie on my back with my hips elevated on a hard pillow. The nurse throws a suspect looking sheet over me. In fact, the whole thing is suspect. I don’t know when the gown I am wearing was last washed, much less the yellowing bed sheet. Medical instruments on a nearby bench are housed in a crusty, old cut-off milk carton.


I may have undergone torture at an Indian fertility clinic, but I didn’t subject myself to this roadside dentist

8 thoughts on “Fertility Treatment in a Dinky Indian Medical Clinic

  1. You’re so stoic Sarah…I had a similar “rustic” experience in Ramsar in Northern Iran in 1976 but I think, despite the shabby nature of that so-called surgery, it was pristine by comparison to this one!

      • I think cleaner & they were more aware of female modesty than you experienced..a Muslim country after all & a male doctor, like so many of his countrymen, trained in Germany. They were still using dolls to point out problem areas for women. He prescribed very heavy drugs for my “lady’s” problem which laid me out for a couple of days…I never returned either!!

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