Are you benevolent enough to carry someone else’s baby? Or compassionate enough to have someone carry yours? Fertility has always been viewed as the woman’s problem. But times are changing and society is slowly accepting that a problem can lie with either partner.
Dr Gautam Allahbadia, medical director of New Hope IVF, tells me: “One in five couples globally have difficulty in conceiving a baby, and the number of couples seeking medical help to have a family has risen dramatically”. Our lifestyle, stress levels and diet all play a role in couples not being able to have a baby. “More women work than ever before, and increasing numbers choose to delay starting a family until established in their careers. This makes fertility problems more likely. Advances in medical treatments mean it is technically possible for many more couples with fertility problems than ever before to conceive a baby,” he adds.
Over the last few years, surrogacy has become a viable option, with celebrities including Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker and Shah Rukh Khan using surrogates to complete their families. Yet, surrogacy remains one of the least talked-about tools in the struggle with infertility.
My dear friend Leena Surri, who had beautiful twin girls through surrogacy, said: “It is a great option for people who can’t have children. You have to go through the initial procedure of IVF where you are injected with hormones and then when the eggs are ready, they are extracted from the mother’s ovaries and fertilised outside the embryos. They are then put into the womb of the surrogate mother. It was very smooth for us.”
However, a recent controversy involving international designer duo Dolce and Gabbana, where one of them used the terms “chemical children” and “synthetic babies” sparked a debate in my mind. Celebrities took to social media to express their displeasure at the comment. And I was pleasantly surprised at the support. People from across the world raised their voices in protest at the comment, but the one which touched my heart the most was Madonna’s. She wrote, “All babies contain a soul however they come to this earth and their families. There is nothing synthetic about a soul! So how can we dismiss IVF and surrogacy?”
There are a lot of people in this world who want to be parents, and today, technology can make it happen, whether through IVF or surrogacy. Many years back, people who could not have children would have to come to terms with it and move on. Today, there is an answer. And I hope more people open up to it. If you really want to experience the joys of parenthood, the little soul will find its way to you — either through your womb, or someone else’s.