Astronomical sums of money are being paid to book operating theatres to have babies delivered at 09:09 am on the 9th day of the 9th month of the year 1399 on the Iranian calendar (corresponding to November 29, 2020).
Forcing the delivery of babies at a specific time just to have a luxury birth date not only results in the birth of preterm infants, but increases health hazards during the coronavirus pandemic.
It has been years that forcing the delivery of babies on round-figure dates has been all the rage, turning into a serious concern for some families.
Dates such as 7/7/1377, 8/8/1388, etc. on the Iranian calendar are among the days on which many would like to have their children born and they pay colossal sums of money for that. The move could result in the birth of babies with deformities.
This has even drawn reaction from some officials.
“Unfortunately, the number of caesarean deliveries considerably increases, by dozens of percentage points up to multiple times as high, at some private hospitals on certain dates and occasions at the request of some families and due to some physicians accepting their request,” Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi had said before.
“Tampering with the date of birth blows the most severe blow to the infant because the extent of growth and brain development is at its highest during the last three months of pregnancy. This is while caesarean sections are usually performed one week earlier than the date the baby is due. So, the infant will be deprived of one golden week when the development of his or her brain and lungs is completed, and sometimes the infant is born with pulmonary infection and malfunction,” the top official added.
Deputy Health Minister for Health Affairs Alireza Raisi had also weighed in on the issue before.
“Tampering with the dates of deliveries will raise the number of infants kept at neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and even increase infant mortality, and families should be prevented from doing this,” Raisi had already said.
Health Ministry’s Ultimatum
Tampering with the dates of deliveries has become so widespread that it has turned into a serious concern for the health ministry as an increase in the number of “luxury birth date” deliveries over the past few years runs counter to the health ministry’s programs and executive policies to promote natural childbirth and reduce the number elective caesarean births.
This year, concerns have grown amid the coronavirus pandemic. Accordingly, with the date 9/9/1399 on the Iranian calendar (corresponding to November 29, 2020) approaching, Deputy Health Minister for Treatment Qassem Janbabaei, in an official notice, demanded hospitals and doctors present a report on their performance with regards to elective caesarean births on special dates. He also demanded hospitals and doctors with high records of “unmanaged” caesarean deliveries to be dealt with.
This year, 9/9/1399 on the Iranian calendar coincides with days when coronavirus infections and deaths are fast rising in the country, and hospitals are facing problems such as shortages of beds, oxygen, etc. Although several maternity hospitals do not admit coronavirus patients, there are hospitals which admit them along with other patients.
Childbirths on luxury dates increase work pressure on hospitals on those dates. Under such circumstances, preterm infants face more health risks.
Birth Certificates with Round-Figure Date of Issue
A spokesperson for the State Civil Registration Organization has urged parents to care about their children’s health rather than them being born on round-figure dates.
“It is possible to issue birth certificates with round-figure dates for all infants born from November 21 to December 5, 2020,” said Seyfollah Torabi.
“9/9/1399 can be registered as the date of issue on the birth certificate even if the date of birth is not the same date registered by the hospital,” he said.
He noted if parents would like the birth certificates of their children to bear 9/9/1399 as the date of issue, the Civil Registration Organization will have no problem with that as long as the baby is born from Nov. 21 to Dec. 5.