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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

We signed the surrogacy contract and our time in MADURAI

I am a South Indian, Tamilian and my native is Madurai.  I am sure you would have captured my haughtiness in the previous line. Who wouldn’t be proud of their roots? The day we left for Madurai from Rajender’s place I was so happy. I was going to see my mom - is there anything else needed to be happy ? My mom was eagerly waiting for me too. She was heartbroken about whatever happened.  She went from temple to temple all those 5 months of my pregnancy. She lived with the thought of her grandchildren whom she never saw. I know she carried them in her heart and to let go of such a beautiful dream at the age of 60 is painful, very painful. 

Madurai is a very small, beautiful city. It is famous for the temples situated there (every street has a small temple!). The most famous temple is called Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple and the above picture shows one of the temple’s towers, magnificent isn’t it? Every time I go there the temple’s architecture never ceases to amaze me. I love roaming around the streets situated close to the temple rather than going inside. Oh, I simply love Madurai for its liveliness. 

We reached Madurai at early morning 4:30. We took an auto from the railway station to our home. The auto driver was a young lad and was chatting happily. The moment we were to enter our village border, the auto driver turned to me and asked, are you wearing slippers. I was not sure whether I heard it right, his question didn’t make any sense to me. So I asked him to repeat his question. He again asked, do you have slippers in your feet? I was so confused; what kind of question is this! I reluctantly said yes and he replied, I will tell you the reason for this question later. When we were nearing our home he said, sister, there is a graveyard at that turning. If you do not wear something in your feet, the spirits (ghosts) which live there will catch hold of you and come along with you. I always make sure I wear something on my feet when I cross that area. A big smile appeared on my face and I knew at that moment that I was In Madurai, a city with gullible, friendly people. I looked at Rajender and he was smiling at me, no actually grinning at me and I know the meaning of it! He just said with his eyes, is there a bigger ghost than you, will anything even dare to come near you!

My mom was waiting for us. At 5’o clock in the morning she has made hot, hot idlies, chutney and sambhar. Another name for mother is love; no one can take her place. In my in-law’s place I have nothing to complain but I was never as happy and comfortable as I am with my mom. In my place I am the queen, I can get up whenever I want, I can eat whatever I like, I can sleep whenever I want and I can be myself. In my in-law’s place I have to behave well and it is very, very hard to be someone else all the time. At 5 AM, I ate the breakfast which I love most and slept happily until 10 only to wake up and ask, ‘what’s for lunch amma!’ 

When I said to my mom that we are going to take the surrogacy route she was very happy. She said, ‘Manju how long will you suffer like this. How many injections, how many injuries to your body and mind! I think surrogacy is a better option’.  She wanted her daughter not to suffer anymore. My sister is a gynecologist, when I asked her opinion, she said, do whatever appears right for you. With such a fear about carrying a pregnancy, it is not wise to try to get pregnant again. I support you both completely regarding your decision to opt for surrogacy. 

My dad is no more, but if he is alive he would have guided me in a very wise manner. When I have to take important decisions in life I miss him dearly.  He was a Judge, a very honest Judge. In every nook and corner of my home I feel my dad’s presence.  If someone says that I am courageous or appreciate my perseverance, I owe all such praises to my dad. He is the one who brought me up with all these qualities. I take after my dad not physically but mentally. I strongly believe that the good life me and my sister live now is just because of my dad, because of his honesty and good deeds. 

I mailed Dr. Malpani regarding our decision to opt for surrogacy.  Between the times I lost my twins and the decision regarding surrogacy, I might have asked innumerous questions to my Dr! He was very, very patient with me. He understood my fears and insecurities. He did his best to help me. He would say,’ Manju, we will do our best to help you have a baby’, and those words mean a lot to me. He never, ever said an uncompassionate word, nothing which would hurt me even unintentionally. He took the role of my counselor too! I owe my ability to live normally and happily even after whatever I went through to him, perhaps only to him!

I was not patient; I wanted everything to happen quickly. Dr.Malpani told me that they have to search for a surrogate first and then have to prepare the agreement. I was wondering how long it might take. But I received the surrogacy contract in my hand within a few weeks. I was reading it page by page and for the first time I got to see Rita, my surrogate! There was a passport size photo of her and her husband. I kept on looking at the photo. She appeared shy, calm and humble. I knew that she has two children and she is a first time surrogate.  I had so many questions in my mind : Why she opted to be a surrogate? What is her husband doing? How old are her children? Does her husband treat her well? Where does she live, in a slum? Will she take care of my baby well? I am going to take a great leap of faith and trust her, am I doing everything right?  In my quest for a baby, am I putting my baby itself at risk? So many questions haunted me and I asked Dr. Malpani everything. All he said was, Manju you must come and visit Rita, and then many of your fears will vanish. 

I didn’t sign the contract at that time. The reason is, my name is misspelled in the document. So I sent it back to the lawyer. In between the time I sent the contract back and received a new contract, we went for a pilgrimage, yes a pilgrimage in search of baby luck!

Did I meet Rita in person?  Where was the pilgrimage to? A lot more to share! :)


  1. Ah, Tamil Nadu, right next door to Karela. Such a beautiful country down there on the tip of the sub-continent. I'll never forget driving down from the mountains and, within 5 minutes, went from temperate to tropical. I hope to go back some day, sooner than later. Like your in-laws, mine lived a rural life on a plantation and so many things about that life (not the mosquitos, mind you) charmed me. Enjoy your time at home. :-)

  2. Have you visited TN ? :) I can invite all three of you when we go back, you are most welcome ! Mosquitoes, those tiny villains !!! Horrible to say the truth but after few days you get used to their kisses. This time mosquito nuisance is very less fortunately! But poor creatures, there is no rain and temperature is dry and high, where will they survive :)

    1. Yes, most of our relatives are clustered in Tamil Nadu and Karela, so we went all over Tamil Nadu. It's my favorite part of India, by far, since I'm a sweltering tropical boy (I just don't have a skin tone ammenable to it :-( ). Rani and I almost went back to India for IVF, but I had some important field work to attend to while Rani went and scouted. I've been looking for excuses to go back, but, uhm, Rani sort of hates India so that makes it hard. Once Ellie is no longer sick and is an appropriate age, I'm sure that'll be our excuse. She's nice and fair skinned so I'm sure she'll be a hit with all of the family ;-) My mother-in-law wanted to take Ellie to the mount of Apostle Thomas's Martyrdom when she turned one (I believe that's in Mylapore?), but I was like "uhhhhh, chronic lung disease, remember?"

      I might just take you up on your offer. I would like to see those little children that will be in your future :-)

  3. Very happy to know that you are making good progress here! Eagerly waiting for the next update.

    If you don't mind, I have an urgent Q for you and I know you must be super busy with all this, but really appreciate if you could help me clarify this.

    I have started my first IVF cycle after much thought and my ER has happened on 8th July and 9 eggs were retrieved. As I have been suggested to undergo PGS due to my first two miscarriages (normal conception) I am slated for a FET in August. My doc has given me Meprate for 10-12 days and after that I am supposed to go back on day1/2 of my next period. My question is when does a ET take place in FET? I am supposed to go out of country for 5-6 days around first week of Aug and just wondering if I will miss any of the important dates? My doc says not to worry as they control the entire process but I don't want to make any mistakes. What day after a period does ET takes place? Are there specific days in which it can happen?

    Can you please guide me through the process here so that I can have some peace of mind?

    Many thanks and all the very best to you! You are in my prayers always!

    1. Sanjana, FET involves the preparation of your endometrial layer. They will give you estrogen to grow your endometrial lining. Normally the amount of estrogen they give is enough to suppress your pituitary so that no ovulation occurs ( no egg formation, your ovaries will be shut down ). Some doctors also give you lupron along with estrogen, which will suppress ovulation even more strongly. In this way only your endometrial layer grows. Once the endometrial layer reaches a particular thickness (usually greater than 8 mm ), they start you on progesterone and the embryo transfer is done either on day 3 or day 5 after starting progesterone, depending on whether your embryos are frozen on day 3 or as blastocysts.

      The beauty of FET is, you can schedule the ET as per your convenience. You can take estrogen tablets for 14 days and start progesterone and do ET ( normally lining reaches the optimal thickness by 14 days) or you can continue taking estrogen for 2 months and do ET. As long as you take estrogen, your lining remains the same. So the amount of time you can take estrogen is highly flexible. This is why your doctor said that they can control the entire process. So you don't have to worry about anything. Hope this helps !

      Good luck !


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