Baby Gammy’s story has highlighted the un-pregnant underbelly of the infertility world writes Emily Jade.
A Hollywood movie couldn’t have had more twists and turns. Thai baby Gammy and his amazing surrogate mother and his not-so-amazing Australian parents’ story gripped the nation.
From the initial shock that a couple who wanted a child so much that they travelled overseas and paid more than $16,000 could then abandon it, we learn that there were twins and the couple took the ‘healthy’ sister abandoning baby Gammy because he had Down syndrome. It gets worse: the horror is revealed that the father had previous child abuse charges.
Now Thai surrogates carrying future Australian babies may go to prison as the Thai government has banned paid surrogacy. How frightening for the Australian parents desperately worried that they may lose their children.
This devastatingly sad story has highlighted the un-pregnant underbelly of the infertility world, one I am very much apart of and I’m hoping it will spark some kind of change for couples haunted by prospect of a childless life.
We have very nearly exhausted our options. Our hearts are broken.
Adopting in this county is a hopeless affair – expensive, long and almost impossible for those who discover they can’t have children when they are nearing their 40s. Fostering is heartbreaking when you are given a child to love then it is taken away. And IVF, as I have discovered, is not only a physical, financial and mental challenge, in a hell of a lot of cases – like mine – it doesn’t work.
Surrogacy is a real and tangible answer.
Sadly in most Australian states it’s not viable, and for those that are, finding a suitable surrogate for a lot of couples is impossible. Most infertile couples don’t have that loving friend or relative ready to donate their womb for free. Government changes and a strict and heavily-monitored paid surrogacy service could well be the answer.
Renting wombs in our very own country would mean better health screenings, halt people (like Gammy’s parents) opting out on a not-so-perfect child, install checks and balances like the adopting and fostering process, and proper psychological assessment for gestational carriers. Potential parents would be better managed on home soil.
It could theoretically create a rewarding and tangible career option for women who love to be pregnant. Call them crazy but those women exist; my sister-in-law is one. Lovingly she has offered her womb to me for our second child as we have very nearly exhausted our options. Our hearts are broken.
But my womb works fine, my eggs are letting the team down. She did come up with the idea that she would donate her eggs, and if one of my brothers donated his sperm, and I carry the baby, we would have a near perfect genetic match. Such is the life of an infertile couple desperate for a family. This one could potentially work.
It would however make our Millie’s sibling not only her brother or sister, but also her cousin, on both family sides. Plus the new baby’s cousins would also be his or her brothers and sisters. Our Tasmanian origins just overloaded on jokes, and Christmas got tricky.
In the future though I can see the pros for Millie, not only would she have sibling love, but in trying times she could say to her little brother, “Can I talk to you as my cousin? Geez my brother is annoying the hell outta me!”