Sunday, 21 June 2015

Belgian woman gives birth to a baby, after transplanting frozen ovary from her childhood !!


A Belgian woman has delivered a baby using transplanted ovarian tissue, which was removed when she was a child.

The woman, who is 29 year old, had severe sickle cell aenemia from childhood and was treated using chemotherapy. Before commencing chemotherapy, the doctors had removed her right ovary and surrounding ovary tissue. Subsequently, the left ovary failed due to the side effects of the  treatment.

After many years, the doctors restored the frozen ovary into the woman. Five months later, the woman started menstruating  and without any ART procedures she became naturally pregnant at the age of 27 and delivered a healthy baby boy.

This brings hope to other women with ovarian problems. But the procedure has risks like. damaging the removed ovary or reintroducing malignant cells at the time of transplant.


Dr. Mani
Surrogacy specialist
GIFT IVF Centre (Director)
surrogatemothersinindia.com

Courtesy – BioEdge, Xavier Symons


Monday, 8 June 2015

Cost of Surrogacy in India

                                                

The cost of surrogacy involves many factors. One of the most important factor which determines cost of surrogacy is the availability of human resource. The number of potential surrogates in India is very high compared  to the European and developed countries and comparatively, their remuneration is  low in India. Another  determinant of the cost of surrogacy is  the cost of living, which is also considerably low in India. In India, Kerala is a much sought after place for surrogacy because women are healthy and educated. The maternal and neonatal mortality rate in Kerala  is very low and comparable to UK and USA. The success rate of surrogacy is also quite high in Kerala.

The cost of surrogacy can be further reduced by doing single embryo transfer to surrogates which will avoid  multiple pregnancy( twins or triplets) which is  30 % more expensive. NICU charges are also less for single babies.

Following costs are involved in  Surrogacy :

1.   Recruitment of surrogate mother and donor (if needed)
2.   All legal agreements.
3.   Keeping of  Medical records.
4.   Blood test, scanning and medical check-up for surrogate mother and donor.     
5.   Counseling of surrogate mother, donor and surrogate mother’s husband.
6    Injections and medicines for surrogate mother and donor.
7.   OR  (Ovum pick-up; Oocyte retrieval) & General Anesthesia.
8.   IVF / ICSI Lab charges.
9.   Surgeon’s fee, Embryologist’s fee, Nursing charges, Post / OP ICU charges.
10. Embryo transfer.
11. Food accommodation and travel for surrogate mothers.
12. Regular scanning, blood test in pregnancy.
13. Anti-natal screening for genetic abnormalities - nuchal translucency 
      scan, double marker/triple marker test, 3D/4D anomaly scan, Doppler
      scans, CTG monitoring.    
14. Delivery / Caesarean
15.  Post-natal care of surrogate mother.
16.  Remuneration to the surrogate mother.

Additional costs (which might occur in some cases)
1.   Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)
2.   NICU Charges
3.   DNA Testing
4.   Multiple pregnancies
5.   Fees for Passport, Citizenship, Visa, Birth Certificate, Exit Visa.
6.   Accommodation and living expenses of biological parents when they are in  
      India


Dr. Mani
Surrogacy specialist
GIFT IVF Centre (Director)
surrogatemothersinindia.com


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Surrogacy is booming in Nepal, but where are the ethics and moral codes?

                                              


We were all shocked to hear about the natural disaster which happened in Nepal, but another unexpected and devastating news came out amidst this tragedy. Rescue operators saved 26 new born surrogate babies and hundreds of surrogate mothers from the mishap. This incident opened a Pandora's box of what is happening in Nepal in the name of surrogacy. It was revealed that most of these babies belong to Israeli gay couples and the pregnant surrogates were as well carrying their babies. For comprehending this phenomenon, we need to understand the surrogacy laws in Israel and Nepal.

Israel give permission for gay civil unions and surrogacy. But in Israel, only heterosexual couples can  opt for surrogacy. But strangely, the law gives citizenship to babies born to gay couples through surrogacy outside the country. This has prompted a large number of gay couples to look for surrogacy outside Israel. 

Till 2012 India was a haven for the gay couples to get a child through surrogacy. Compared to the European countries, India was a cheap destination for surrogacy. But when the new Indian law which banned surrogacy for gay couples was introduced in  2012, the scenario changed. The focus was shifted to Thailand till the Baby “Gamy” episode and subsequent ban on surrogacy for foreign couples in Thailand.

This changed Nepal into the most sought after destination for surrogacy. But Nepal has some rather strange laws for surrogacy. Surrogacy is allowed for foreign couples, whether heterosexual or gay, it doesn’t make any difference. But for the citizens of Nepal, surrogacy is banned. They cannot be intended parents nor surrogates. Now this is a strange situation, which has been cashed by middlemen in India. Girls from India are transported to Nepal to act as surrogates. After birth, the child gets Israeli citizenship without any difficulty.



But after the devastating quake in Nepal, the rescue flights carried the Israeli babies, but the pregnant mothers carrying the Israeli babies were left in the lurch. The hapless mothers were left to fend for themselves. This caused a word wide uproar and the incident was termed as “Global Shame”

Dr. Mani
Surrogacy specialist
GIFT IVF Centre (Director)
surrogatemothersinindia.com

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Maternal love does not care “whose EGG” “whose SPERM” !!

                              


This is the story of my patient  Rebecca, (name changed) whose journey to motherhood has enlightened me that motherly love knows no restrictions. She was suffering from severe vaginismus, a physical or psychological condition that makes it almost impossible for a woman to have vaginal penetration, sexual intercourse,  gynecological examinations requiring penetration.

In spite of her medical condition, she got married at the age of 26. Luckily, she had a loving, kind and understanding husband and hence they were coping along very well. He was very co-operative and was compromising his needs and desires for the sake of their  marriage. After 8 years of being together, their craving for a child increased. After a lot of counseling,  IUI  was attempted on Rebecca  through general anesthesia, but the attempt was unsuccessful. Her uterus was also small in size and hence chances of threatened abortion were high.

She was adamant that she wanted to have her own baby, but when the situation was explained to her she realized that the only option left was surrogacy. She agreed to surrogacy on the condition that she wanted to use her own egg  along with her husband’s sperm for the procedure. She was aware of the trauma she will have to undergo for egg collection during OR (oocyte retrieval) with her condition of vaginism. Here also 3 unsuccessful attempts were made as the response to stimulation of eggs was poor. Finally, she relented for donor egg IVF with husband’s sperm and they were blessed with twin babies through surrogacy.

This had happened three years back, recently I was invited to the kids third birthday party. I was dumbstruck at the change in Rebecca. She was all involved and always doting on the children. Her husband told me that she would not allow any servants or nurses to take care of the babies and made it a point to singlehandedly look after the children. Initially, I had apprehensions as to how she would respond to the children since surrogacy was done  with donor egg, knowing how particular she had been of using her own eggs. All my suspicions vanished into thin air, seeing how wonderfully she was taking care of the children.


I distinctly remembered how talkative she was when she first came to me and many a time I would have to strongly bring her to a halt so that I could continue. But now she was not even bothered about anything else and was completely immersed in the activities of her children. I recognized the value of the maternal instinct – once children are born, mothers makes no distinction between own egg or donor egg.



Dr. Mani
Surrogacy specialist
GIFT IVF Centre (Director)

Monday, 18 May 2015

Testimony of a contented father after he got his baby through surrogacy!





S. Sajeev

We got married nine years ago and as with any family we wanted a baby and had been trying desperately with various clinics and methods. Since nothing worked we had to go for surrogacy as all other options were closed for us. After thorough search of surrogacy clinics, we chose Gyno Gift Centre and now we have been blessed with a beautiful baby boy. Though surrogacy does not require much involvement of the intended parents, we were anxious about the surrogate and the mental and physical situation during the pregnancy period. The most interesting thing was we had complete access to communicate with the surrogate mother and full information regarding the tests and scan reports  was updated on a regular basis, that we had no apprehensions and was free during the whole pregnancy period as the surrogate was taken care in the hospital itself. We used to visit the surrogate mother and see her in person -  her health and living conditions. She was staying in the hospital with her two year old child and she was very comfortable as she had no worries or tensions about everyday life since her child’s and her everyday food and nutrition, physical exercise and other needs were taken care of, and she had nothing to worry about. Also she had the company of other surrogates and all in all they were having a merry time. This I was very particular as I know this would affect the mental  situation of my unborn baby and fortunately, I was lucky enough to find Gyno Gift Centre providing all these and I could see for myself anytime the status of my baby and the surrogate.

I would like to thank Dr. Mani and the staff  who were always very helpful I answering all my queries and as I found out from my surrogate -  hospital staff was very friendly and  always available at a beck and call from surrogates in helping them out in anyway. I don’t think I have enough words to thank  you so much for helping us out with a healthy and a happy beautiful baby.

S. Sajeev




Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Normal baby through surrogacy after a case of Downs Syndrome



On a bleak Monday afternoon, I had an appointment and hence was forced out of bed to the clinic. Here I met 51 year old Rajan, 45 year old Rema and their 15 year old son Rohit. They were silent for a long time after entering my chamber, it was very awkward. I saw the expression of despair on their faces and it was then that I observed that something is wrong with Raju and immediately it struck me – he was a affected with the Down Syndrome.

Down syndrome (DS or DNS), also known as trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21. It is typically associated with physical growth delays, characteristic facial features, and mild to moderate intellectual disability. The average IQ of a young adult with Down syndrome is 50, equivalent to the mental age of an 8 or 9 year old child, but this varies widely. Down syndrome is the most common chromosome abnormality in humans, occurring in about one per 1000 babies born each year.

Raju and Rema were in tears as they explained their situation. Even though they loved their son dearly, they badly wanted another healthy child. But this was not an easy task, as risk of having a baby with Down syndrome is higher if you already had another baby with Down syndrome. Moreover, their age added to the risk factors.  Researchers have proved that the risk of delivering a downs baby increases for women from the age of 35. Seeing their desperation I sincerely wanted to help them, but I knew it would be a great challenge.

I agreed to help them, but on certain conditions – first being - will try with a healthy donor egg as this will reduce the chance of downs by 50%.  But using the Fathers sperm, there is still another 50% chance that the next baby could also be born with down syndrome. With the modern technology and latest scientific breakthroughs, I decided to go ahead.

Down syndrome can be identified during pregnancy by prenatal screening followed by diagnostic testing, or after birth by direct observation and genetic testing. In this case as we were performing an IVF, there are tests like PGD (Pre-Implantation Genetic Disorders) which can be done even before the embryo is transferred and we can transfer healthy embryos. Prior to this we had also conducted a sperm DNA Fragmentation test to check the quality of sperms and this came out normal, but since we did not want to take any chance PGD was also done. Even after transferring the embryo to the surrogate mother we continued with other tests such as the non-invasive Maternity trisomy 21 test, where a blood sample from the surrogate mother would give the genetic composition of the baby. All tests gave normal results, but still I was more apprehensive than the parents, for I had  assured them a healthy baby.

All through the gestation period (Pregnancy), I was anxious, I had to make sure nothing went wrong and hence regular checkups and tests were done. Ultrasound imaging can be used to screen for Down syndrome. Findings that indicate increased risk when seen at 14 to 24 weeks of gestation include a small or no nasal bone, large ventriclesnuchal fold thickness and an abnormal right subclavian artery, among others. The presence or absence of many markers is more accurate. Increased fetal nuchal translucency (NT) indicates an increased risk of Down syndrome. 

After the delivery, pediatrician checked and conducted tests and scans for the baby to rule out Down’s syndrome. Completely satisfied I handed over a perfectly healthy baby to the happy family.

Since it was a special baby to me I kept checking every 2 weeks, if she was fine. Two months later, I was invited to their palatial mansion in the heart of Bangalore city. It was immensely gratifying to look at the overjoyed parents.  Rohit  had a special gleam on his face when he tried to entertain his little sister Rohini. I felt so proud and contented, while holding little Rohini. 


Dr. Mani
Surrogacy specialist
GIFT IVF Centre (Director)


Letter of appreciation from my Australian patient after surrogacy







Dear Dr Mani,

I take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation, thanks and gratitude, for the genuine hospitality and service you have provided for my family.
You have given our family the most precious, priceless gift in the World a beautiful baby girl.
I was very impressed with your passion, expertise and out most professionalism in the manner you and your wife operate your clinic.  At all times you have demonstrated to me, that you  are not driven by money and greed, because you have a sincere passion, genuine empathy in helping prospective parents becoming parents.
My family experience with you and your clinic has been a very pleasant, memorable and pleasurable experience, which we will remember for the rest of our lives.
I was taken back on how you take extreme care of all your patients, as if they were your own family.  Your staffs have been very generous, professional and very helpful at all times.
Many westerners are dubious in dealing with Indians society, because they are afraid of being swindled with their money, cheated and frustrated dealing with the complicated Bureaucracy governed by India.  This definitely is not the case with you, because at all times you have demonstrated to me your professionalism, integrity, loyalty, honesty and sincere empathy in helping prospective parents, achieve the ultimate gift on earth, which is a child of course.
I am more than happy to discuss with your prospective parents, who are contemplating treatment at your clinic, the pleasant experience we had at your clinic. Also’ I am pleased to highly recommend your clinic to prospective patients and I am hoping that the many other IVF clinics throughout India, will emulate your protocols, high morale’s and principles and sound transparent business practices, in operating their clinics the way you operate your clinic.
Once again, my whole family thank you and lovely wife Anita, down the bottom of our hearts, for taking good care of us while in India and giving us a beautiful gift of life.

Regards


Gerard Sansico
From Victoria - Australia
 

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Surrogacy for the case of Wegener's granulomatosis

                                          



I am happy and contented that I brought hope and meaning to the lives of my patients Ram and Laxmi.

Rahul and Laxmi had been married for more than 8 years. They had no children. After 6 months of marriage, Laxmi had conceived but unfortunately miscarriage happened by the end of the first trimester.

From the second year of their marriage Laxmi began to suffer on and off breathlessness, cough, wheezing and severe ear ache. Even after an ear surgery there was no relief, the pain only intensified and spread. Conditions of cough and wheezing worsened. Rahul took Laxmi to a big medical institute in Cochin for further treatment and after all the tests,they diagnosed  it as a case of Wegener's granulomatosis.

Wegener's granulomatosis (WG), is a systemic disorder that involves both granulomatosis and polyangiitis. It is a form of vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels) and an uncommon disorder that affects small- and medium-size vessels in many organs.  The inflammation restricts blood flow to various organs causing damage to them. Damage to the lungs and kidneys can be fatal. The cause of Wegener's granulomatosis is unknown. The diagnosis was severely delayed due to the nonspecific nature of the symptoms and hence her treatment was delayed.

With the medications Laxmi began to put on weight, she had high BP and became diabetic. In this situation  attempting for a pregnancy was ruled out, as the side effects of all the medicines she was  taking were also very high. Laxmi had lost all hope in life and wanted to end her life. But her loving husband Rahul pampered her and showered her with  love and took care of her every need.

It was then that they heard about surrogacy and contacted me. I convinced them that there was no need to be disappointed, the Artificial reproductive technology has progressed so much that couples like them who have no other alternative can complete their family through surrogacy. The procedure went smoothly and now Rahul and Laxmi have begun a new life filled with love and laughter. Baby Kiran has brought a ray of light into their life and a ray of hope for the future. My humble efforts, not only brought a new life to this world but saved 2 more from their pains and suffering.

 Dr. Mani
Surrogacy specialist
GIFT IVF Centre (Director)

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Surrogacy was a life saver for Carol

We thought, we would share the real story of one of our female patients in the blog today, so that everyone gets a fair picture of a patient’s journey through various stages of infertility treatments.


Ten years had passed since Carol (name changed) started her married life. The first two years, they tried to conceive naturally, but without any luck. Then they visited a gynaecologist, who advised them to go through Laparoscopy. Subsequently Carol underwent laparoscopy four times and also tried IUI procedure four times. In spite of all the treatments, there was no positive result. They were from an average middle class family and all this treatments were making them financially weak.


Then they decided to try their luck with ICSI procedure in one of the famous hospitals for infertility, but unfortunately the results were again negative.  Sadly, infertility was affecting their married life and due to the pressure from social obligations, Carol was divorced by her husband as she failed to conceive.


In 2005, Carol  got married again at the age of 35 and the whole process of trying for a child started again. She went through IVF procedure four  times and each time, the IVF was performed by highly qualified foreign doctors, but still she couldn’t conceive.  Once she had naturally conceived, but the happiness was short lived as two months later she lost the baby in a  miscarriage.


Then they came to know about surrogacy and finally, after a lot of research came to us. We explained to them about the whole procedure of surrogacy and they were happy and  decided to go ahead with the surrogacy option.  Their joy knew no bounds, when we informed them that the surrogate mother was pregnant with their baby. Few days back the surrogate delivered  a healthy baby and Carol and her  husband were exhilarated as the void in their life was filled by this happy moment.  Every time we bring smile on a patient’s face, it gives us immense pleasure and job satisfaction.

We wish Carol and her family, a lifetime of love and happiness!!

Dr. Mani
Surrogacy specialist
GIFT IVF Centre (Director)




Sunday, 15 February 2015

Couples are blessed with a baby through Surrogacy after 2 IUI and 14 IVF


Today I am sharing the story of my young patient, who was even ready to die  to fulfill her undying thirst to have a baby. (Names, places and picture have been changed to protect the real identity)

Nina had moved to the USA with her parents when she was 10 years of age. She was a brilliant student studying in a reputed school. At the age of 21 she got married to a Professor, both were healthy and happy. By the year 2007, 11 years had passed since the marriage, but still her dream of cuddling her own baby had not materialised. Now they started trying ART (Artificial Reproductive Techniques). In all they attempted  2 IUI  and 14 IVF  without any success.

The second attempt of IVF nearly cost her life. For the procedure of IVF, we need to retrieve the Oocyte (egg) from the ovaries, fertilise them with the husband’s sperm in a petridish (hence In-Vitro Fertilisation) and then transfer the embryo into the womb. To retrieve the egg, medications such as FSH, Clomiphene Citrate, etc.. are given to boost  the production of eggs and in very rare cases there would be a side effect of OHHS (Ovarian Hyper Stimulation). In Nina’s case it was a severe case of OHHS and protruded abdomen. Nina collapsed and was taken to the nearest hospital. She was put on a Ventilator in an Intensive Care Unit. Days passed even her parents lost all hope of her revival. After 21 days she came out of the ICU to an emotional reception of her husband Teddy and her parents. Teddy swore no more to children as he did not want to see her in this situation anymore and Nina decided to spend her life dedicated to her husband.

But as time passed by, she again started craving for a child and knowing her husband’s desire, Nina decided to try again and give a child to her husband, even at the cost of her life.

In the year 2008, against the doctor’s advice, Nina again started her journey through ART one after another without much side effect or for that matter any effect at all. She did successive 10 attempts unsuccessfully at various centers, fortunately without any issue of OHHS.

In 2009, Nina and Teddy came to India to take another attempt at IVF in Mumbai. Here again in the second attempt she showed symptoms of OHHS. Medications were given and symptoms subsided and she left back for the USA. One week later OHHS struck her seriously and this time it was worse than the first time – her lungs collapsed and she was put  on the ventilator, there was multiple organ failure and she was unconscious. It almost took a month to stabilize her conditions.

After she recovered she was found to be diabetic and pregnancy was ruled out. Through all this turmoil the couple stood together as per their vows – through thick and thin, through health and wealth and through all troubles and pleasures. Nina realized  that she can no longer bear a child and knowing how much her husband wanted a child,  advised him to get remarried. But her husband strongly declined and opposed any such thought.

By the year 2012 they came to know of the option of surrogacy. They came back to India and did their research in the Delhi and the Northern states, but was not happy and returned back to the states and kept searching for opportunities world over. In the year 2013, there was an International conference in Washington for which I had participated and it was here that I met this couple. We discussed many things and I was invited home for dinner. It was a palatial house in a big yard with a well groomed garden and all fineries of life, the only lacking was the heir – a progeny to carry on their legacy. They felt their life was meaningless and all their work futile. It was here that the discussions began and the plan for the process of surrogacy with a donor egg and Teddy’s sperm initiated. Within a short span of time, the plan became a reality  in our Hospital at Cochin.


36 weeks later there was an emotional scene when we handed over a beautiful baby girl to the loving couple who had waited for so long and had gone through so much of pain and trouble, nearly costing her life in an attempt to produce another – this was the culmination of their long cherished dream and the beginning of the true purpose of life. They just couldn’t take their eyes of the baby and the gratitude was overflowing. I myself felt so happy and felt as if I had fulfilled a part of my destiny.


Dr. Mani
Surrogacy specialist
GIFT IVF Centre (Director)

Saturday, 7 February 2015

The new cutting edge technique in IVF – “3-parent babies”


The recent developments in the UK can be landmark in the technology of IVF and a medical world first for Britain. Britain voted on Tuesday to become the first country to allow a pioneering "three-parent" IVF technique. After a furious debate, UK lawmakers vote overwhelmingly in favor of allowing the new IVF technique. But further vote must be held in the House of Lords before this become law.

Doctors say this technique will prevent some of the genetic incurable mitochondrial diseases. It is aimed to aid families with mitochondrial diseases, incurable conditions passed down the maternal line that affect around one in 6,500 children worldwide. The babies born from genetically modified embryos would have DNA from a mother, a father and a female donor.

Through this process, faulty mitochondria, which can cause inherited conditions such as fatal heart problems, liver failure, brain disorders, blindness and muscular dystrophy are removed and substituted with healthy mitochondrial DNA from the donor embryo. So the embryo will have biological parent’s nuclear DNA and the mitochondrial DNA from the donor embryo.

This technique will not change a child's physical characteristics like color, height or hair nor will it affect the child’s personality traits or intelligent levels. This procedure will make the baby healthy and prevent mitochondrial DNA from being passed on to the next generations.

Although this technology is path breaking to prevent mitochondrial diseases, it has raised several eyebrows. This law is vehemently opposed by the catholic and anglican church raising ethical issues.

The Bishops Conference of England and Wales said the Church opposed the destruction of human embryos as part of the process and hoped treatments for mitochondrial disease could be found.

"The human embryo is a new human life with potential; it should be respected and protected from the moment of conception and not used as disposable material," Bishop John Sherrington said in a statement.

"We have finally reached a milestone in giving women an invaluable choice, the choice to become a mother without fear of passing on a lifetime under the shadow of mitochondrial disease to their child," Robert Meadowcroft, chief executive of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, commented after the vote.

Lawmakers were given a free vote on the issue, and Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said the British leader had voted to support it, adding it was not "about playing God".

There are numerous supporters for 3 parent baby method, but critics are accusing that this is a step towards creating designer babies. We will have to wait and watch whether this will be passed as a law and what all implications this law is going to have.

Dr. Mani
Surrogacy specialist
GIFT IVF Centre (Director)
surrogatemothersinindia.com


Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Testicular Feminisation Syndrome / Baby through surrogacy .



At Gift IVF, we are proud to have helped many intended parents realize their dream through IVF and Surrogacy. This is the unique story of a couple, whose aspiration to become parents were fulfilled at our clinic.  Well, this is not a story, it is a true happening however, the names and places have been changed to conceal the real identity.

Ram & Laxmi were childhood friends, they lived and studied in the same village and school. They used to walk along the same path near to the paddy fields, through the mango grooves to the school every day and soon they fell in love. Nobody took it seriously as everybody thought this was just another teenage infatuation. Years went by and these children grew to adolescence and into adulthood and their bond grew stronger with time. Ram grew to be a strong handsome young man and Laxmi turned to a beautiful curvaceous young lady. Little did they realize what was in waiting for them.

As Ram and Laxmi turned 27 and 25, it was time to get married as was the custom. There was no  obstacle, as the families knew each other and wedding went on smoothly with splendor and grandeur. Towards the end of the celebrations the young couple was led into their nuptial bedroom for their first night together with the traditional glass of milk. It was then that Ram came to a shocking realization that Laxmi was suffering from a disease called Testicular Feminisation Syndrome.

Testicular Feminisation Syndrome,  more appropriately called the complete Androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS),  is a genetic disorder that makes XY (male) fetuses insensitive (unresponsive) to androgens (male hormones). When a baby is conceived the male gamete or sperm decides if the baby should be a boy or a girl. If the sperm  fertilizes the egg that has XY chromosome the baby is a boy and if it is with an XX chromosome the baby is a girl. It is in their adolescent stage the differentiation of males and females happen, till then boys and girls are very similar. In puberty they develop the Gonads (The primary sex organ) ovaries in girls and testicles in boys. The males, born with the XY Chromosome have testicles and starts to produce a hormone called the Androgen from the puberty stage which gives them the male characteristics – such as musculature, broad shoulders, facial hairs, bass voice etc… and the baby with XX Chromosome is born a girl and from puberty produces female hormones namely Estrogen and it is this hormone which gives women the feminine secondary sexual characters – curves, breasts, soft smooth skin, long hair, etc…

People with this syndrome cannot be diagnosed easily as they have no symptoms. They are born looking externally like normal girls, whereas geno typically they are males and are infertile. Socially they are considered as neither male nor female. Internally there is a short blind-pouch vagina and no uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries. For some even the vaginal orifice is absent. There are testes in the abdomen or the inguinal canal which is usually mistaken for ovaries and during adolescence they produce high amount of Androgen but as the name of this syndrome signifies – the cells in the body are insensitive to Androgens and these get converted to Estrogen. Hence, a person with AIS will look externally like a beautiful woman, as in the case of Laxmi. As this is not a common condition and since discussing sex is considered a taboo in our culture, these conditions often go unnoticed and undiagnosed. The complete androgen insensitivity syndrome is usually detected only at puberty, when a girl should but does not begin to menstruate. Many of the girls diagnosed with this syndrome have no pubic or auxiliary (armpit) hair. They have luxuriant scalp hair without temporal (male-pattern) balding. As they do not have uterus or ovaries, they are sterile and cannot bear children.

Recorded descriptions of the effects of androgen insensitivity syndrome dates back to hundreds of years, although significant understanding of its underlying histopathology would not occur until the 1950s. This syndrome was formally identified in 1950. There are about 7,500 people affected with AIS in USA alone. The testicles in these patients produced a hormone that had a feminizing effect on the body, a phenomenon that is now understood to occur due to the inaction of androgens, and subsequent aromatization of testosterone into estrogen. In this condition, an organism is born with primary sex characteristics of one sex but develops the secondary sex characteristics that are different from what would be expected on the basis of the gonadal tissue (ovary or testis).

Coming back to our story, Laxmi had not disclosed this to anybody until now. Ram, who was truly in love with Laxmi, being a very kind hearted and understanding person, decided to face the consequences together. They visited various hospitals and clinics in India and in USA, where Ram was working. But they got the same reply everywhere that, Laxmi is a typical complete AIS candidate who did not even poses a vaginal orifice and they cannot have children. A vaginoplasty was done which improved their sex life, but they were not happy as they craved for a child. This was when they approached us. I was able to explain to them about surrogacy and availability of donor egg. This was a turning point in their life. Using Ram’s sperm and a donor egg, IVF was done and successfully the embryo was transferred to a surrogate mother. 36 weeks later a baby girl was born and their happiness cannot be described. Ram and Laxmi were shedding tears of happiness and she could not take her eyes off their baby and she was holding her close to her bosom for hours together.

These are the moments worth living for, to see the joy in the eyes of those who had lost all hopes of having their progeny. We are also content that we could aid in fulfilling their dreams, when they had no hope of completing their family. Now they have flown back to the USA, a happy and complete family.

All of us had a prayer on our lips “May they live happily ever after”……………………

Dr. Mani
Surrogacy Specialist
Director - GIFT IVF Centre

Gifting the Miracle of Life

Some time back, a couple approached me for doing   surrogacy     as   the woman   had     polio   lower limb deformity, was   sufferi...