SURROGATES: Reflections on the birth of my son via a surrogate in IndiaPublished on October 24, 2012 by Hans Ongsansoy · No Comments CRYSTAL TRAVIS
VANCOUVERDESI.COM Our son Mark turned 4 on Oct. 15th, and so many memories flashed through my subconscious all day.
I’m sure his surrogate Nayana was thinking about his birth, as she currently is working in Israel in order to send money back home to India. As most of us know, women from Third World countries often travel to other countries to seek out a living for their family back home.
I went back through the journal my husband and I started before Mark was born, to see just what we were thinking leading up to his birth. A middle aged couple, me, African American, and my husband, Caucasian and born in Melbourne, Australia – who would have thought that children of the ’60s would have ever connected.
Well, we did and, as life moved on, my eggs aged out. By the time we decided to have a family, and start down the road of IVF, we already needed an egg donor. Then we realized that we needed a surrogate, too, so off to India we went. My husband Colin often said he thought of this as a lottery ticket. Who would have ever thought that we would win?
In 2008, there was not much talk about surrogacy in India, and it certainly was not a 2.3 billion dollar business like it is today.
Our journey led us to Gujarat, India, to a little village called Anand. This area of India is known as a cottage industry for surrogacy. We were mesmerized by the kindness of people as well as the all-encompassing poverty around us.
Uday, who is a fixture in Anand, dropped us off at a hotel called The Laksh, We hated the food, and the stench of the hotel made us nauseous. However, we love Indian food, and to this day still eat hit it 1-2 times a week. We both ended up eating tangerines for days, from a cart off of the street, which is the worst thing you can do, besides drinking the water, in a Third World country, and lost weight.
The days seemed to lag as if we were behind in time by hundreds of years. The juxtaposition about so many things happening around us almost seemed like too many things to take in, on one’s first trip to India. The constant sound of beeping and auto rickshaws crawling around the town like ants was a sight to behold.
The colours of the saris that waved through the air, as women rode 3-4 on motorcycles, was like a slow motion dance and we sat for hours as if in a trance watching everything whiz by.
The next morning, a man who we would consider a valet in the U.S, hailed down an auto rickshaw for us to ride in. This strapping man was a force to be reckoned with, as his long sword hung from its holster on his pants. We noticed that he kept sending away rickshaw after rickshaw. Finally we asked why and he replied they want more than the 20 rupees it costs for the ride despite it only costing no more than 10 rupees.
Ten rupees is equivalent to 20 cents in U.S. currency. Who would argue with someone with a sword? Eventually we rode through the crazy streets in Anand, where cows, dogs, motorcycles, bikes, cars, trucks, and, yes, even a woman nursing her baby were all on the same street.
We met with Dr. Patel, and her husband, Dr. Hitesh Patel, and thought what an interesting pair.
Colin did his sperm deposit in what used to be an objectionable bathroom but he was able to get the job done. We discussed finances and hung around to meet our surrogate.
Finally to our excitement our surrogate came, with her family. An exchange of questions were answered, and the customary photos that most intended parents wish to take were shot. However I had a gut feeling that this would not work.
I noticed many other couples who were at the clinic, and they had the look of deer caught in the headlights. This was something that Colin and I did not have and it served us well.
After returning home we received news in late January that our surrogate did not receive a positive. I told Dr. Patel to find another surrogate immediately because emotionally I knew I had to get back on the horse right away, or I would dwell in my own sorrow and possibly give up. Almost immediately Dr. Patel found us a surrogate who was a nurse. As fate would have it, she ended up being the surrogate for all three of our beautiful children.
We received sonograms, as well as videos of our son, over the months of the pregnancy and all went well. As soon as we arrived in Anand on Oct. 15, 2008, Mark was born. The story of his birth is for another post, but one that, looking back on now, was a series of comedies that were not comical at the time. Nevertheless, we are ecstatic and blessed to have our son.
Crystal Travis’ website, WorldofSurrogacy.com, provides basic information about the process and expenses of surrogacy. She and her husband, Colin, live in the D.C. area with their son Mark, born in 2008, and twins Alec and Elle born in 2010. The children were born of the same surrogate mother in a clinic in Anand, Gujarat, India.