Surrogacy In India: Coming Home With (Almost) Nothing
By: Kerrie Olejarz
When we awoke the next day, we felt ok, somewhat normal. I thought we would be unable to bare it, but we were surprisingly excited to go meet the newborn. We had a lovely breakfast at the hotel and watched one chubby Indian man swim in the dining side pool. We were now known by all the staff and felt a weird sense of home. The air in the hotel was damp and my skin loved it! I was dewy for the first time in years; India battles my Sjogrens dryness (yahoo!). Later in the day we grabbed a rickshaw to Powai Lake area to meet up with Nik. He was staying at the Ramada and gave us a hotel tour when we arrived. It was such a lovely place, with lots of green space and an outdoor pool. Our hotel was very nice, but because it was in the hub of Andheri, with loads of construction going on, it lacked outdoor space. Meeting Nik was great…just wonderful! We all grabbed a rickshaw and headed to Hirandani Hospital. We entered through the security checkpoint and headed to the ward where our latest addition could be found. We entered the room to find mum and dad and baby. Baby was under a UV light to help with the jaundice. Mum and Dad looked happy to see us and were able to recount the last 24 hours to us. They were tired and excited –typical new parents. Their baby boy was perfect! We all enjoyed our visit and I was fortunate enough to hold him for a while and check out every perfect little finger and toe. Mum and dad were expecting to leave the hospital the next day and stay at our hotel in one of the suites. They had an Indian cell phone so we could all easily keep in touch.
Our visit ended and we headed over to the local Haiko grocery store to stock up on snacks. We then decided to get something to eat and the guys decided on KFC. KFC was KFC, whether in India, Australia or Canada. We had our nosh and headed over to a Hooka coffee bar. We grabbed our drinks and watched the locals puffing away on their Hookas. I practiced a little Hindi on the waiter, but of course I only know the bad words so it was fun for both of us.
In a previous conversation, Nik had made us an offer that was beyond generous. Nik and Lisa had previously done an IVF cycle in India and had 18 vials of Puregon left over…just sitting in the refrigerator at the doctor’s office. They were having twins and did not need the medication and felt that we would be the most deserving of the donation. They gave us the meds –just gave them to us! For those who do not know how huge this is, each vial costs over one thousand Canadian dollars. We were overwhelmed by their generosity! We could not get over the offer, but of course we accepted it. Words cannot describe our gratitude. We hope to one day pay it forward but for now we had to just be thankful for the gift. By contrast, we had only given them crummy little Canada shirts for the soon-to-be-born twins. They told us to take the Puregon, just take it and use it–that was it. We organized this with the doctors who helped us out with a cooler bag and ice packs because the vials had to be kept refrigerated.
The next day was our last day in Mumbai. We spent some time with the doctors sorting out the medication and getting a note from Dr. Yash that would allow us to travel with it. We said our goodbyes to the doctors with a promise to see them very soon! Our plan at that time was to be back in September to try again. We had breakfast with the new parents and baby and also said our goodbyes to them with a promise to keep in touch. We spent the day packing up; we had an evening drink and snack with Nik, and after many thanks and final goodbyes we were ready to head home and get back to normal life.
The flight home was uneventful. The medications went through the Mumbai airport without the blink of an eye. But when we transferred in London and hit security, the bells went off and the security line came to a halt! The security team asked us loads of questions about these mystery vials. Security is so tight at Heathrow and we got to witness the intensity of it. They took swab samples of our medication and ran it through the bomb detector and were finally satisfied that this was simply an injectable medication. Eight hours later we were home. Ahh…home…you cannot beat coming home. Our evil little bastard dog was very excited to see me and we had some good snuggles. We settled in and collapsed into life. The reality of coming home with nothing kind of hit us at this point, but our strength was bigger than that and we were ok. We had our plans to do a fresh cycle in India in September. I had to travel to Germany for work and Mark would meet me there and we would head to Mumbai together. So the plan was set and now we just had to wait. I had been sent home with birth control pills from India so I could time my cycle for the upcoming September trip.
The next day we headed to the clinic here in Toronto to discuss what had happened. Both the doctors and the embryologists showed us how they packed our embryos. From what we saw, it was impossible that the vials could come open. We were dumbfounded. There was speculation that the airplane pressure had caused them to pop open, but after seeing the mechanism used to close and seal them, we felt that the pressure was probably not the cause. The vials were sealed by magnetic force and required a special tool to open; they cannot be opened by hand, nor by being dropped. We left the office confused, still wondering what could have happened. We took the weekend to recuperate and then it was back to work. Life continues…
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