SurrogacyIndia’s focus is in fertility, not infertility. Making babies, is possible. ‘Possible’ is what we believe in.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

My long road to fatherhood as a single, gay man

I’ve always wanted kids. I even thought about getting married to a woman to have them, but being a gay man, I didn’t think that was the right thing to do. But it was torture – I would go to the mall and see parents with their kids, especially fathers, and imagine that being me one day.

I approached female friends who I thought would be good candidates to have a child for me, but when it came down to it, it wouldn’t have worked. They wanted to be the ones to raise the child, and I figured if I were to have a child, I would want to be with that child every day. I wouldn’t want to feel like a visitor in my child’s life.

I also considered adoption. But there seemed to be a lot of red tape, a lot of stress and a lot of going back and forth.

One day, I was chatting online with an acquaintance who mentioned he had just come back from India with his twin boys.

I said, “What do you mean you just came back from India with twin boys? Did you adopt?” He says, “Oh no, they’re mine.” So he introduced me to surrogacy and explained the process. That was in November, 2010.

I got the ball rolling right away. I went to a clinic here in Toronto to get screened and tested for diseases and for a sperm count, and I contacted the fertility clinic in Mumbai.

By December, 2010, I was on my way to India. All this happened really quickly. I thought, “I’m getting old, and I’ve been wanting a child for so long, it’s now or never.” Once there, you have to do further screening and give sperm samples.

In a case like mine, there were two mothers involved. There was the genetic mother who would donate the egg. And then there was the surrogate mother, who would carry the baby. I didn’t get to choose the surrogate mother. The clinic does that through extensive screening. She must have had at least one child before and no miscarriages and no problems carrying the baby.

You don’t get to meet either of the mothers in person. But I got 12 profiles of potential egg donors with a nice picture of them, their education and any heritable diseases. And you choose from that.

To me, age was important in an egg donor. I thought, “I’m old already, I might as well have a young mother for my son.” So my criteria was beauty and age, and no diseases. The donor I chose was 21 and had also never had children before. Mine would actually be her first child. I was told she got married soon after.

I was lucky the fertilization happened on the first trial. By then, I was already back in Toronto. I didn’t have to be there during the pregnancy, but I got regular updates, every two weeks, with ultrasound images and detailed reports. In fact, I was supposed to have twins, but one of them didn’t survive after six weeks. That was a little bit heartbreaking. I felt on edge every day for the first three months of the pregnancy.

The one thing I was never told was the sex of the child because in Asian countries, they always favour boys over girls, for whatever reason. But I didn’t really want to know anyway. Slowly, I started telling my family and friends.

I left for India mid-September, 2011, the week before the intended delivery, but he didn’t arrive until the 26th. I was the first one, after the doctor, to hold him. I don’t know if I can describe the feeling, but it just felt like, “Is this real? Has this really happened?”

The name I chose, Roshan, means “light” in a few languages: Hindi, Arabic, Kurdish and Persian. I knew my child was going to be the light of my life.

For the first few days, you actually stay in the hospital with the child, so they can observe him and make sure nothing is wrong. We then stayed in Mumbai for five more weeks, going back and forth between the hospital and a hotel where I was staying within walking distance. My sister-in-law had come with me to help, and I got minute-by-minute training on how to care for a newborn.

For Canadians having a child outside Canada, you can bring the child back as a Canadian citizen if you have the genetic testing and everything is okay. That wasn’t so difficult. I did my own genetic testing here in Canada and I did his DNA testing over there. Once it’s a match, and you submit all the paperwork and pay the fees, you get a temporary passport to bring the child back. However, it’s not so easy to get the Indian government to issue a release visa for the child. The Indian government has since clamped down on foreigners hiring surrogates.

If I included all the costs, the airfare, testing and everything, the total was somewhere between $55,000 and $60,000. Here in Canada, even though you don’t pay surrogates, it probably would have cost well over $100,000. Nevertheless, I did take out a loan to have him.

That was my biggest dream – to have a child. And when it happened, I felt as though I was still dreaming. Sometimes even now, the reality still hasn’t set in. There’s no greater gift that you can have in life.


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