Monday, March 23, 2009

Channel Seven: Sunday Night


With bated breath and a lot of impatience, I waited for the surrogacy story in which Lisa and Nik (tigerlilycat) featured to be broadcast in Perth, which is two hours behind the rest of the country. 

A week of God-awful promos for the show, promising a story about an "international investigation" into "baby factories" where "rows upon rows of Indian women are giving birth to babies for Australians" have upset many people, and not just in the surrogacy community. One international adoption organisation interpreted the promotional teasers to mean the show was about child trafficking of Indian children and put out an alert to its members to not let their children watch it. When a story is called "India's Baby Factory" it does indicate something untoward is going in India and that Australians are involved.

Well, I am very pleased to report that the show had little similarity to those deceptive promos, and anyone hoping to see an international investigation into something despicable would have been sorely disappointed.

The show was simply the story of Lisa and Nik and their journies to India to have an Indian woman carry their genetic children. I thought the story was excellent, and I felt so proud of Lisa and Nik. They presented as articulate, intelligent and knowledgeable, people you could really trust to not be child traffickers or exploiters of Indian women. Of course, the lump in the throat and tears to the eyes came when Lisa and Nik saw their twins. Bob and I were privileged to see their little bubbas on the monitor shortly after they had, but it was the first time I saw Lisa and Nik's reactions - love and awe - that's when I reached for the tissues. And again, the nose snottied up with all the hugging and face stroking between Lisa and Fahra. 

While in India I was fortunate enough to spend some "girly time" with Lisa in the clinic with the girls who were on their two week wait. Despite us not being able to speak the same language, we managed to communicate quite well. One thing I learned from this experience is that these women are so proud of their IPs and so proud of what they are doing. I was completely satisfied none of them are being forced into surrogacy and no-one is being exploited. 

I was disappointed that the presenter said something along the lines of  "Lisa and Nik want a baby, and she wants something: money!" Of course she wants money, and I believe any surrogate is entitled to payment. I am actually not in favour of altruistic surrogacy because friends and family members of infertile couples may be financially disadvantaged by a surrogacy pregnancy, and may also feel pressured to become a surrogate because in Australia, there simply is no other option but non-commercial surrogacy. I felt it a little more than demeaning to Fahra and our surrogates to suggest they are simply in for the money. In my experience they are not. They actually do think we are cursed for not being able to have children, and they do feel very sad for us and want to help us.

Congratulations to Jade and Monique (producer and reporter) who worked so hard on this story. Media could have made a mockery out of all of us, as the recent Indian surrogacy story on Dateline proves, but these two women set out to tell the story from the eyes of the surrogates and the IPs. Bravo!

On a sour note, the title of the story "The Baby Factor", a title that was not chosen by Jade and Monique, was discouraging. The word factory conjures up images of semi-skilled workers slaving away in poor conditions for long hours and little pay. None of that is true of our Indian surrogates. They are loved and treated very well by their IPs, and by the SI docs and their team. 

A very big thank you to Lisa and Nik for going out there and telling it like it really is. A few couples had the option of being involved in the story, and we declined to for various privacy reasons. Lisa and Nik were the brave ones and I applaud their courageousness!!!

To see the story go to www.seven.com.au and click on the link to Sunday Night. Don't forget to vote.

For information about surrogacy in India for Australians go to www.australiaindiasurrogacyadvocates.org then email the media or inquiries officers (me and Lisa) with any questions you may have.

(Sorry Lisa, I couldn't resist posting the "tear" photo).




2 comments:

Mike and Mike said...

Mike and I took issue with some minor elements in the story, but all in all, I thought they did a very good job.

I am glad they caught the raw emotion of Lisa, I felt that was important. More importantly was the reaction from Fahra. From a good PR perspective, it was very valuable. It showed we weren't these heartless monsters just trying to exploit India.

Kudos to the news team and Nik and Lisa for being brave enough to share their story.

Mike A.

Amani said...

Yep, there were few things we objected to. However, this is Australia. sad to say, we a are very backwards in many ways.

if this was a story about surrogacy in the USA, a western country, it would be okay (ish). I have come to realise a lot of the objection is about India ... no-one would have dared to use the same terminology if we were talking about American surrogates.