Mumbai: In a first of sorts, a deaf and mute American Gay couple has become proud parents of twins born through surrogates in Mumbai.
One month old Sela and Seth babble and cry like any other newborns and though their parents cannot hear them, they keep a close watch to see what the twins need. They may be hearing and speech impaired, but the gay couple from New York is getting used to figuring out when to change nappies and when to feed them.
American Gay Parent Brian Blais says (in sign language), “I grew up absolutely deaf, I don't see it any different. I mean I have several deaf friends. I mean I have no problem, this is just who I am and you grow up, you get used to that's who you are, it’s not an issue at all for the both of us.”
That’s not the challenge Brain feels, but it certainly led to a six year struggle they were unable to adopt or turn to surrogacy in their own country. A surrogate parent in Mumbai proved to be the answer. In fact, India seems to have become the cradle for the West, with the annual surrogacy market estimated to be a whopping Rs 5000 crore.
IVF Expert, Rotunda Clinic Dr Gautam Allahbadia said, ”Cost is a huge factor, our costs are a third or fourth of what Thailand offers and a eight or tenth of what US offers.”
There is also an increase in the number of same sex couples looking for surrogates in India. The law in India is still largely a grey area. And like Baby Manji and other recent high-profile cases, that has led to complications. The Indian council of Medical Sciences has drafted a bill for Assisted Reproduction but that is yet to be tabled in Parliament.
In 2008, Baby Manji, born to an Indian surrogate Anand, Gujarat kicked off a legal debate.
In 2009, France denied citizenship to twins born through surrogacy in India, to a French couple and in 2011, Norwegian Kari Volden's one year old twins are living in limbo in Mumbai.
Brian and Alan are just more than happy to have completed their family promising to bring the twins back to India every five years and to teach them Hindi as well as English and sign language.