May 30, 2008

By: Niambi Brown Davis

At first glance the shot of brown-skinned women in sterile gowns and masks resembled a class photo of medical professionals fresh out of the lab. Then I read the title – “Pregnancy becomes the latest job outsourced to India.” Attended to by a team of doctors, maids and cooks, the 15 women served as surrogates for infertile couples from all over the world, including an American couple featured later that week on a TV morning show. They had tried every other method; a solution half way around the world seemed to be their last hope.

I can’t imagine the heartbreak of a couple who tries and repeatedly fails to conceive. Emotionally and physically, it must be exhausting –from orchestrating sex around ovulation all the way to side effects of powerful drugs designed to make conception possible. For those who choose the route of in vitro fertilization, the cost is steep. According to one article, it can range from 10,000 - $15,000 per try, draining to the mind, body and pocketbook.

“Why don’t you adopt,” a reporter asked the couple who chose to use an Indian surrogate mother. Perhaps she was asking the question she thought viewers wanted to hear. I don’t think she was making a judgment, but I’m sure somewhere in TV Land, brows furrowed and fingers wagged. I’ll bet they could care less; for this couple, the only thing that mattered was the joining of his sperm and her eggs to make their baby.

It was easy for me to have children, even that late in life, almost out of time pregnancy. To this day, I can recall every minute of each labor and delivery. No other joy in the world compares to holding each of my children for the first time, so I understand the desire for that particular joy. On the other hand, a local DC anchor gave up her on-camera job to care for 13-month old twin girls she adopted from an orphanage in Ethiopia. I applaud that kind of love and dedication. My best wishes are with them all.

This time I have no questions, but I’m eager to hear your thoughts.

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