Monday, May 25, 2009

Channel Nine – Sixty Minutes - “Full Transcript – Two Men and Two Babies”

(nine images)

LIZ HAYES: In a hospital in the suburbs of Mumbai, an Indian woman is about to give birth to twins. But of the 24 million births in Indian every year, these babies will be among the first of a new era. In the waiting room outside the theatre the anxious parents are pacing. Any last minute thoughts?

PETER WEST: Is it too late to go back? (LAUGHS)

TREVOR ELWELL: Don't even go there!

LIZ HAYES: Trevor Elwell and Peter West, a gay couple from Melbourne, have paid $40,000 for this moment - children conceived with their sperm in a test tube from donated eggs and implanted into another woman. Surrogate babies - now available to just about anyone who wants one. What are you thinking? Boys, girls, boy and girl?

PETER WEST: A boy and a girl would be good but we think it's going be two boys. As long as they've got 10 fingers and 10 toes and all the bits in between, that's all that matters.

LIZ HAYES: That is all that matters. For the surrogate who has no genetic link to the babies she's carried, giving birth is the end of a 9-month business arrangement. She and the woman who donated her eggs have agreed never to see these children. Instead, the babies are cleaned up and immediately introduced to their fathers. The only parents they'll ever know. DOCTOR: Hearty, hearty congratulations, two lovely baby girls.

PETER WEST: Oh, thank you. DOCTOR: I will get them for you.

TREVOR ELWELL: Oh, bless you, bless you.

PETER WEST: Aren't they beautiful.

TREVOR ELWELL: Yes, you are, aren't you.

LIZ HAYES: Welcome to the rest of your life. How does it feel?

PETER WEST: Words can't describe it.

LIZ HAYES: This is the most natural thing in the world for you now?

PETER WEST: Oh yeah, oh yeah.

LIZ HAYES: This story began four years ago in the suburbs of Melbourne. Peter and Trevor were in a serious relationship, both successful in work, Peter runs a small business from home and Trevor is an IT consultant. And they share a comfortable home. But still, it wasn't enough.

PETER WEST: I can't imagine my life without children. There'd definitely be something missing. our lives just wouldn't seem complete.

LIZ HAYES: Are you getting a sense of the clock ticking?

PETER WEST: Oh definitely, there's definitely the maternity clock.

LIZ HAYES: In your case the paternity clock?

PETER WEST: Yes! There's definitely a genetic clock ticking, of some sort, in there, yes. The obvious problem Peter and Trevor had is that they're men. And as a gay couple, adoption and commercial surrogacy is illegal in Australia. Ironically India, a country where it's against the law to be homosexual, provided the surrogate solution. Of course, you're gay, has that stopped you in the least?

PETER WEST: I'm not but my boyfriend is.

LIZ HAYES: Did that stop you in the least in considering having children?

PETER WEST: It didn't stop us but it made us pause.

TREVOR ELWELL: But our lives are so embedded with friends, family that have children, it just did not seem an issue.

LIZ HAYES: So you're just a couple of boys from the 'burbs who wanted babies?

PETER WEST: Pretty much, yeah.

LIZ HAYES: For those who, for whatever reason, can't have children, the desire to be parents can be overwhelming and like Peter and Trevor, they'll search the world to fulfil their dreams. Many come here to Rotunda Clinic in Mumbai. From the outside it may not be what you were hoping for, but step inside and you could be well on your way to starting a family.

DR. GAUTAM ALLAHBADIA: It's going to take just two minutes this is a non-invasive procedure.

LIZ HAYES: Dr Gautam Allahbadia is a fertility specialist who runs what he describes as "a baby factory". So you're standing right where it all happens?

DR. GAUTAM ALLAHBADIA: Yes, this is our temple.

LIZ HAYES: It's standard IVF. But what sets Dr Allahbadia apart is that his services are available to everyone, regardless of sexual preference or marital status.

DR. GAUTAM ALLAHBADIA: I believe every human being has a right to procreate and as long as I'm practising medicine within the Indian law, you know, I would offer this service to anybody.

LIZ HAYES: So single men, single women?


LIZ HAYES: Gay couples?


LIZ HAYES: Anyone who can't have a baby comes to you?

DR. GAUTAM ALLAHBADIA: Yes, and we are getting more and more complex cases.

PETER WEST: We're a same sex couple, is that going to be an issue? Brilliant.

LIZ HAYES: Peter and Trevor found the clinic on the web. It's a one-stop shop, where eggs and sperm and the services of surrogates can be purchased. Trevor and Peter selected the mother of their twins without meeting her. Was there any particular characteristic, though, that you thought...yes!

PETER WEST: Yeah, she's had pregnancies before, she's healthy, she doesn't have any blood disorders or issues or anything like that.

TREVOR ELWELL: At the end of the day you just go, "she looks like a nice lady".

LIZ HAYES: Donor eggs can be bought for about a $1,000. They're then fertilised in the laboratory and implanted into a surrogate who receives about $5,000. And if this process seems to lack romance now, it's about to get a whole lot more impersonal.

DR. GAUTAM ALLAHBADIA: The most fascinating thing is that you don't have to come to India. You have to just send your sperms by DHL. We find an egg donor. We get your surrogate pregnant. You just come down, pick up your baby, and go back home.

LIZ HAYES: My head spins. I don't even have to attend?

DR. GAUTAM ALLAHBADIA: But this is what is happening and this is the future. We have very busy Americans, single men, lawyers, professionals, doctors, at the pinnacle of their profession who say they don't have the time to take out a week and come down to India.

LIZ HAYES: Trevor and Peter did visit the clinic to start the process, but have still had to watch the pregnancy from 10,000km away.

TREVOR ELWELL: We don't get to be there. A heterosexual couple who, where the wife is pregnant you know, the husband gets to see the baby grow the woman gets to feel the baby inside her. We actually haven't had that yet.

LIZ HAYES: Have you had cravings? Have you had growing pains?

PETER WEST: Pickles and icecream? No,

TREVOR ELWELL: But we've actually felt a huge change within us occur.

PETER WEST: And this is the new nursery.

LIZ HAYES: Oh my goodness, it looks like a shop. That change has seen them nesting... ..and of course there's that time honoured baby shower. Any fears?

PETER WEST: Oh hell yeah! Absolutely terrified, absolutely terrified, but the good type of terrified.

LIZ HAYES: Finally, last week, after all the preparation and expectation Trevor and Peter became a family of four. And like most first time parents it's all a bit overwhelming.

PETER WEST: This is Gaia Ellen Kathleen. This is Evelyn Grace Honor.

LIZ HAYES: Wow, beautiful names.

TREVOR ELWELL: Beautiful girls!

LIZ HAYES: Gaia and Evelyn are healthy and content. Trevor will take leave to help Peter care for their babies. The surrogate, the woman who gave birth to them, prefers to remain anonymous. But there are many like her, women prepared to rent their wombs. Poverty-stricken women like Razia. Razia was paid US$5,000 to deliver twins two years ago. But she did it in total secrecy. How did you explain to people when you had your babies and they were not with you? TRANSLATOR: For the people who found out that she'd gone to hospital her husband told them that the child was not doing well, and had to be kept in an incubator. And when she came back home she said "look, I'm you know, "the child didn't survive."

LIZ HAYES: The money has helped Razia and her husband, a tuk tuk driver, educate their three children. They're also saving for a new home. And despite it being against her Muslim beliefs, she's going to do it all again. Would it matter to you if the parents were gay? TRANSLATOR: No, she's not happy about that.

LIZ HAYES: But you do know it is possible that that could happen? TRANSLATOR: Yes, she's heard about these things but she'd rather do it for a couple who's really looking for children.

LIZ HAYES: Would it be disappointing to learn that the surrogate doesn't approve?

TREVOR ELWELL: No, not really. We're just content and happy. We're a good couple, were good people we'll do as good or bad job as any old heterosexual father, mother, you know, we'll make the same mistakes. Parents! Show me a perfect parent.

LIZ HAYES: I don't know of any,

TREVOR ELWELL: That's right!

LIZ HAYES: Do you ever stop and think about the children that you're creating and the complex way that they're being brought into the world?

DR. GAUTAM ALLAHBADIA: Maybe I'm too busy doing making babies now, I haven't really sat down and contemplated and thought.

LIZ HAYES: Isn't it morally proper for us to consider the children?

DR. GAUTAM ALLAHBADIA: Isn't it morally right that every human being is entitled to propagate his own genes?

LIZ HAYES: But aren't these children burdened, before they draw their first breath?

DR. GAUTAM ALLAHBADIA: I don't think so. Because the world is changing rapidly. By the time they are adults, by the time they grow up I think this will be the norm rather than an exception.

LIZ HAYES: How will you tell your children or are you just going to let them work it out?

TREVOR ELWELL: There's no hiding the fact that we're two guys. They're gonna grow up finding this totally normal until they see otherwise and then, you know, when they start asking questions we'll give them the answers.

LIZ HAYES: Yeah, they're pretty big issues for kiddies, aren't they?


LIZ HAYES: Gay dads, donor eggs, surrogate, India.


LIZ HAYES: You've got answers?

TREVOR ELWELL: Getting answers. Step by step.

LIZ HAYES: Having your own children is now possible for so many for whom this once could never be. It's just a matter of price. Love it or hate it, there's no stopping it. Although in this case it's easy to see that these babies are truly treasured.

TREVOR ELWELL: The last week I've had two sleepless nights just waking up thinking about the babies and it's a completely different fear than I've ever had in my life. You know, this is the one thing you can't give up. This is the one thing where there is no choice, it has to work.

LIZ HAYES: There's no turning back.

PETER WEST: And it will work.

TREVOR ELWELL: It will work.

[Link: Original Article]

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