“We always wished to raise half a football team at home, with kids of various ages buzzing around. That was our idea of a family.”
Long before Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt decided to have their brood of children, I and my husband often discussed the prospect of having a number of kids, out of which only one would be biological. So by 28, we went in for our first baby and were blessed with a son. I got pregnant very easily – at the first attempt. Hence there was absolutely no sane reason as per rules of the society where I live, to attempt to have more children through other means. But that’s exactly what I decided to do.
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“It’s our duty to enhance the quality of the gene pool: an argument I put forward asking my husband to have his sperms matched with someone else’s eggs at an IVF clinic.”
My simple, chartered accountant husband who hardly knew anything about gene pool felt terribly scandalised. However, he stopped short of falling off his chair, instead gave me a patient hearing and tried to read up on genetics. I lectured him on how different traits would make our children unique and add healthy diverse characters to the human gene pool. After all, I was a student of zoology, and genetics was one of my papers.
“My husband agreed to go the Chori Chori Chupke Chupke filmi-style, where the husband biologically mates with another woman but keeps the child for the wife.”
I instantly knew my husband’s proposal came as an attempt to stop me from doing something outrageous. He even hinted I go in for other men’s sperms, especially handsome ones, and produce cute babies. But I wished to keep my experience of giving birth a unique one. For me, a second time meant messing up with the whole ecstasy, trauma or fun I went through in those nine months when my son was enjoying the warmth of my womb. I also had the weird idea of exploring the triumph of science over destiny. After a lot of emotional threats, my husband finally gave in. We decided to keep this away from our parents till another child landed up through IVF and surrogacy.
We visited an IVF clinic, one of the city’s best and were treated like royalty. They never asked us why we wished for IVF or surrogacy. We were 35 then and I was perfectly fertile and capable of having my own kids. They were ready to help us with what they called ‘a very pretty and educated young woman’ who would be the egg donor. It was actually a vicious money-making network but we didn’t know it then.
“Meanwhile, we also wanted to adopt a daughter and registered on CARA, the official site for adopting in India.”
And to no end realised how tough it gets to convince your family that it’s just the innocence of a child that matters and not your genes. For my in-laws, it was pretty scandalous. My mom-in-law came up with a direct query: why can’t you have kids of your own, and if there was a problem with me in terms of getting pregnant again. She was fairly certain nothing can be wrong with her son. Other than a few friends who supported our adoption endeavours, most of them felt we are doing it as a style statement to prove that we support a social cause. Thankfully my mom and dad who themselves wanted to adopt a child once upon a time, stood up for us.
“I realized at least my city, part of my family and even society is still not prepared to encourage Brangelinas either in adoption or surrogacy.”
The infertility clinic brought up a surrogate, a woman who wished to give her two daughters proper education with the money she would get through surrogacy. We not only gave the surrogate whatever she wanted, paid according to contract, but even decided to fund her daughters’ education. She got pregnant, but within a month she stopped taking our calls or coming to the clinic. The clinic sent people to track her, we came to know that she had aborted the foetus because by then she had got half of the sum assured and her husband had bought a shop that they wished to buy. The clinic asked me to sue her, we didn’t. I was pretty shocked at the unprofessional attitude of the clinic.
“And I had to explain to the family and my husband that once an adopted daughter comes in, she must get the same respect, love and property that our son got.”
Yes, my husband’s family is a big one. And for them, anything unconventional amounts to sin. So I had to make it clear in advance that our adopted daughter should and must get the same status as the other grandchildren in the family get. The adoption centre has finally given us hope that they will provide us with our daughter to brighten up our home. I wish many more would follow, and we might actually end up creating half a football team.