Tag Archives: Mumbai

” If you imagine it, you can achieve it. If you dream it, you can become it.” – William Arthur Ward. One of our patient’s sucess story in his own words

My fatherhood story

From the age of 20 I know I will become a parent, but time past faster than I felt and I was over 40 still a single man with no clue how I am making my biggest dream come true. And it happened a few years ago I came to read in a local newspaper about a gay couple becoming parents to a child getting help by a surrogate via Rotunda.

 It took me more than 2 years before I got the courage to send a mail to Rotunda and on the second mail my angel on earth wrote me. It was Dr Goral who later I understood is going to be the most meaningful person ever for me. She personally was the doctor and embryologist who got my embryos created through egg donation and she personally was the doctor who selected and put back the perfect embryos in my surrogate’s womb.

But this I will tell later. Before I want to tell about how afraid I was to begin the path. I am a single man, living alone in Israel. I don’t have any will changing my status. The only thing ever I wanted was a family! My family! and at the age of 43 I finally said to myself that I can’t wait no more and I sent the first mail to Rotunda. Till that stage it was the most difficult thing I did. No one can understand how much courage I needed and if not the feeling that this is what GOD has wishing for me I would not have become a father. My first try did not succeed. It took me 6 more months and good words from Dr Goral to start 1 more time. Got 1 more flight to Mumbai and again sat in Rotunda while the egg donation and 2 days later getting  embryos back in my surrogate.12 days later Dr Goral sent me the best mail till then telling me there is a pregrancy.

8 months later I became the happiest man living on earth! I am a father of a daughter and a son.

 My twins are 1 year and almost 4 months now. The boy is running for almost 2 month and the girl is making her first steps now. There is no happiness bigger than my happiness! No argument about it. Thank God for allowing me to be a father to my twins and thank Gods angel on earth (Dr Goral).

For anyone reading this blog I wish to explain: You need to stand on your legs and want the impossible! It is possible, just decide you want it. Rotunda knows how to make our biggest dream come true. God is great. Thank you Rotunda and more than anyone thank you Dr Goral & Dr Allahbadia.

Oriah (meaning the light of God) – my daughter

Yehonathan (meaning God gave) –  my son &

 Me- Yehoshua / Joshua (meaning God will save)

Email: joshua40@walla.com

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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About The Tel Aviv Nights, But Were Afraid To Ask!

Let me tell you a fascinating bed-time story:) The story of my night out with Erez & Evyatar (my guides) exploring the night life in Tel Aviv, last month. This was a unique new tour started by Dan Knassim for individuals or groups wanting to experience the fabled night life first-hand in sizzling Tel Aviv! The Tel Aviv night-life culture is one of the biggest night cultures in the world. Tel-Aviv is one of the only cities that is awake & throbbing with life 24x7x365.
I went to Tel Aviv for my routine teaching assignment as visiting Faculty to the University of Tel Aviv, Sackler School of Medicine at the Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer. I was interviewed on channel 2 at their Jerusalem studios as part of the Gay Family – Surrogacy story being lapped up by the Israeli media. India was suddenly in the news with Surrogacy being written about in all major newspapers. I was told that a film by Zippi Brand on Surrogacy in India was also beamed on a major TV channel the same month.

A typical night in the weekend (Thursday-Friday-Saturday) can start at 22:00 hours with a cocktail with friends continuing to a party at 01:00 hours and then finish with a crackling after-party that starts at 6:00 am and finishes that night at 22:00 hours. Twenty four hours of non-stop partying is a way of life for youngsters over the weekend!In most of the bars and night-clubs you will find a burly bouncer-type person who is sitting at the entrance usually with a pretty woman. The woman points out discreetly to the bouncer who does not go in. This decision is based entirely on this screening woman who decides first on ethnicity, next on looks & many a times just to maintain the “exclusivity” of the club by refusing youngsters in.There is a law in Israel that prohibits those under 16 from entering these night-clubs & it is this screening-siren that decides who goes in. I saw youngsters break down in front of this security-screening duo at a couple of night-clubs because they were refused permission to get in. My guides told me that this is sometimes considered such a big insult to a youngster who has brought his date to the bar on a week-end & is not allowed in; these incidents lead to peer-pressure psychological disturbances & nervous break-downs.

In Tel Aviv there are various types of parties.I was getting bored in the hotel room & a common friend suggested Erez take me out for a night-life exclusive tour beginning at 23:00 hours & ending at dawn! Lima Lima was our first stop since our night club expert Evyatar heard of a wild Gay party on at Lima Lima. Lets talk about the Gay party scene in Tel Aviv. The Gay parties & the Gay community are very well known in Tel Aviv. The orthodox Jewish state turns a blind eye – to them the Gay community does not exist- It is another world – unseen & unheard to the orthodox Jew! Every single night there is a different gay party in the city with different music and crowd. There are very open Gay parties, very erotic, very open… as if you can feel the sex in the air and hungry searching eyes all around. Seeing is believing! I attended one such party at Lima Lima, which is one of the oldest night-clubs in Tel Aviv. Every Monday, you have a Gay party where singles come to find partners & couples to rock the night away(see pictures!) And then there are more relaxed parties where everyone knows everyone else; at such parties there are more gay couples partying out with their friends; where everyone is busy socializing, gossiping and here the music is a little muted in the background with lots of drinks going around.The focus is on camaderie & chilling out with friends.

There is another set of parties in Tel Aviv which are zoned according to ethnicity. Like the Ethiopian parties – This is like mini-Africa and you find most of the time just Ethiopian-Israeli immigrants rocking the night away. All you get to dance to here is Ethiopian music(sometimes hip hop music too!). And then there are the Eastern parties – not by the Chinese or Singaporeans but the immigrants who have migrated from Morocoo or Iraq – here you will find just “Mizrahit” music & clusters of only-Easterns(see Video!)

And then there are the regular night-clubs with teen-agers & youngsters in their 20’s dancing the night away. What is interesting is that these night-clubs have a gentry from a particular type of social set. You see only expensive cars outside a particular night club & the patrons of this night-club are usually children of very rich parents. Very subtly, there is a clear demarcation of social class in the night-clubbing scene in Tel Aviv. From Lima Lima which had a steamy gay party going on till the wee hours of morning, we went to Amazonia which was obviously a “rich-kid” night club with all the expensive frills.

After spending time in an Ethiopian & an Eastern night-club, we had the sun-peeking over our heads by the time we decided to return home. I had seen night-life in Mumbai, London, New York, Mexico City, Munich, Singapore, Tokyo, Dubai and Cancun… but everything paled in comparison to the sights & sounds of the night-life in Tel Aviv. Lechhaiim!!!!Picture 1

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The Presidential Address at the 56th AGM of the Mumbai Obstetric & Gynaecological Society

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.

The best because our chosen profession has and is progressing by leaps and bounds and leading the medical world into new fields of research, therapy and hope.Assisted reproduction today is a highly advanced field and practitioners are doing what no one believed was possible.We provided the embryos and the cord blood from where stem cell research took off and is poised to make breakthroughs in irreparable nerve cell or cardiac cell damage, manage cancer, diabetes and liver cell failure.We are at the forefront of the medical world in endoscopy. Surgeons from other specialties to suit themselves, modified procedures and instruments devised by brilliant gynecologists. We are still eons ahead of them. Today there is no pathology that master endoscopists cannot treat laparoscopically. It was a gynecologist Ian Donald who first thought to use sound waves to make images of the unborn child. Today we can diagnose and treat an ailing fetus in its mother’s womb by blood transfusion or draining an over distended bladder. As the world ages, we are still there at the next frontier with our meshes and tapes that repair aging muscle, keeping a woman continent and giving her a new life. We have a variety of options in medications for the older woman to keep her bones strong and her skin tough. That we care deeply for our patients is obvious from the fact that we are among the few surgeons who make the effort of doing a surgery through a pfannensteil or bikini cut incision and painstakingly close it so that the scar does not show. Here too we are busy trying out tummy tucks with hysterectomies or even cesarean sections. It is a matter of pride that all these latest technologies are available in our country and its medical capital, this city of Mumbai. Impossible is nothing! The story of my Presidential year 2009-10 began almost 5 years ago and started with me searching for the promised land that will bring our post-graduates closer to academics, research & newer technologies. These are difficult times with the world at war, terrorism threatening our planet, our country, our beloved city and our way of life. We cannot even hold our cricket matches in our own country. A severe economic recession grips the world and threatens our medical tourism and outsourcing industries. However there is hope as a young new president takes charge of world’s most powerful nation and speaks of change. And the youngest thus far president takes charge of the Mumbai Obstetric and Gynecological society in its 75th year and also promises that this year will be different. This will be an Indo-Israeli year. My reasons for choosing the Israelis to partner us this year, is that we have many cultural and social similarities. We both built our nations from scratch; we value education and hard work. We are quick to adapt to a new methodologies and we thirst for success and recognition. Israel is a first world country doing cutting edge research in infertility and fetal medicine and genetics and has well established protocols and procedures in endoscopy and oncology. She has graciously agreed to help her developing sister country by sending her leading doctors who will share their knowledge and expertise. Since both countries became independent, this is the first scientific collaboration for an entire year between Professional Societies. Not one, but 7 Israeli Medical Organizations have thrown their weight behind the Mumbai Obstetric & Gynecological Society (MOGS) this year! Israel is sending us 14 world leaders in their respective disciplines. Our theme for MOGS this year is: “Technology Saves Lives. Let us learn from the best”. This is what the Indo-Israeli collaboration translates to. Let us also extend this generosity to our fellow gynecologists from other towns and cities who can attend all our academic programs this year. Information about our scientific sessions will be sent all over the country- so we expect a lot of new faces in town this year. To all of you fellow gynecologists I say be the change. Lets not have any negativity this year but contribute enthusiastically as if each one of you were the president of the MOGS and organize innovative, interesting and useful sessions for us as part of our outreach programmes. We are taking the good work started by my predecessors forward. Why partner with Israel? India, the world’s biggest democracy, and Israel, one of the tiniest democracies, surprisingly have much in common. Both are the cradle to the world’s most dominant religions. Thus, for over 5000 years they have sprouted the foundations of human culture as we know it today. Both these countries have many sites which are considered the holiest to the largest number of followers all over the globe.Given India’s strong scientific and technological base, Israel is keen on strengthening professional medical ties with India. The Indo-Israeli Year presents an exciting new means to help physicians from India and Israel to establish a vibrant partnership. This is going to be one of the first official academic collaborations between the two countries ever since they both achieved independence over 60 years ago. We are all looking forward towards an unprecedented opportunity of first-hand exchange of knowledge and experience that can forward our mutual goal of extending the best health care to all women. At this time, I would like to publicly acknowledge the support system at home. Despite me being me, all I got at home was solid support & love. Thank You Swati, Akanksha, Ranveer, Daddy, Titoo, Siddharth.They say a man’s upbringing starts a hundred years before his birth. We Hindus believe our good luck now is the result of past life karma. Someone up there must like me to have blessed me with superb teachers who shaped me as a gynecologist and fertility physician and as a man.My heartfelt respect and gratitude to Dr Snehalata Deshmukh, Dr Pratibha Vaidya, Dr Geetha Niyogi, Dr Vivek Patkar, Dr Sushila Saraf, Dr PB PaiDhungat, Dr Satish Tibrewala, Dr Shashank Parulekar, Prof. O Djahanbakhch & Dr Sadhana Desai. I could not have taken on this responsibility were it it not for my capable team from Rotunda & Deccan, Kaushal, Goral, Sulbha and Anjali who have been my backbone. No man is an island though people often accuse me of being a loner. I would not be where I am today without the help, support and guidance of my dear friends – This year would not have been in its present form without the support of Dr Daniel Seidman & all my other friends. It is just once in your life that you meet someone who can change the way you look at the world. Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. I have never in my life met a person who has so influenced me with his vision, intelligence & philanthropy. Mr Ajit Gulabchand is Chairman and Managing Director of HCC – one of India’s leading construction companies and has been a catalytic factor in the infrastructure growth of India including our own Bandra-Worli sealink & Lavasa – Free India’s largest hill station spread across 12,500 acres, set amidst 7 hills and 60 kms of lakefront. Corporate Social Responsibility remains intrinsic to Mr Gulabchand’s vision for the group encompassing HIV, Education, Water, and Disaster Management initiatives. He has recently endowed a new ‘Ajit Gulabchand Chair’ on Indian Business Studies being set up at Oxford University and is a member of the Oxford International Advisory Board for Executive Education. Upon my request, he has agreed to bequeath a grand sum of Rs ten lakhs to MOGS to set up an overseas training fellowship for a young MOGS member gynecologist in memory of his mother Late Dr Shantabai Gulabchand, who was an eminent gynecologist practicing in our own city. Being an ace ranker in her college, Dr Shantabai Gulabchand secured an easy admission for MBBS in Grant Medical College of the J J Hospital. She passed the MBBS with flying colors, securing various medals to her credit, such as Viceroy’s silver trophy, Lord Sandhurst’s Gold Medal and even the National Scholarship for Indian lady doctors. After completing internship at Cama Hospital, Mumbai, Shantabai was appointed as Lecturer at Bai Motlibai and Petit Hospital. Mumbai. She believed in studies, and perused whole heartedly by completing her F.R.C.S. (Gynecology) at an early age of 26 in London. After obtaining the F.R.C.S. degree, she returned to Mumbai and started her own clinic in Girgaum, Mumbai. She possessed an entrepreneurial streak right from the beginning of her career and started a company called “Altra Laboratories” that manufactured medicines. In June 1947 she married reputed industrialist Seth Gulabchand Hirachand. She served as Director on the Board of Hindustan Construction Ltd for nearly 31 years.Even in the post independence era, Shantabai was actively involved in politics and was associated with the Swatantra Party. She also deeply believed in women empowerment and education. Thank you Sir for partnering MOGS to help out our own post-graduates & to advance science in our own city. I would like to dedicate my own Presidential year to the memory of my late mother Dr(Mrs) Sanyogita Allahbadia who strived that her children be given the best education. I am grateful to my parents for having given me a sound education and made me capable enough to be speaking before this very august audience. We will try our best to offer an amalgam of the highest academic standards with the recent advances in the field. I was particularly impressed by one of President Ronald Reagan’s memorable quotes: Aim for the top, pray to God and Hope for the best. That has been my philosophy & it will be our endeavor to strive for excellence in all aspects of this year. We promise you will we will do our best not to let you down.I believe that a true student is never satisfied or content with the knowledge gleaned . And we will all continue to remain students all our life since education is a continuous process. I’m sure we will enrich ourselves with pearls of wisdom that we will pick up from the deliberations of meetings in 2009-10. The great pleasure in life is in doing what people say you cannot do . Let us all make this a memorable year!

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First Israeli gay man gets ‘maternity’ leave

o-eimg_0107omer-yonatan-evyatarThe National Insurance Institute authorized Israel’s first-ever “maternity” leave for a male couple on Thursday. Yonatan Gher, director of Jerusalem’s nonprofit Open House Pride and Tolerance organization, has received institute approval of a 64-day leave from work on the occasion of the birth of his biological son, born of a surrogate mother in India. His partner of seven years commenced formal adoption procedures, so that the child will be formally recognized as his as well.
Despite confirmation of the leave, Gher has not received an answer to his request for reimbursement of NIS 10,000 in hospitalization costs (Gher and his partner also stayed in the hospital prior to the delivery) from the NII.
The process began two years ago, when the couple realized formal adoption by a single man or two gay men was not an option here. They did not want to agree to joint parenthood with an Israeli woman, because they said it would expose the child to a situation similar to divorce.
They opted instead for IVF treatment through Rotunda-CHR, a Mumbai clinic(www.iwannagetpregnant.com), and chose the donor of the egg and a surrogate mother. They returned to Israel with their son in November 2008, and Gher took leave. Earlier this month he requested that his leave be acknowledged by the NII, and says he was “surprised” to have received a positive reply within a few weeks, without needing to take any additional action or submit an appeal. Gher sees the decision as a significant achievement. “What we have here is the establishment taking responsibility for a process that had been forced upon us,” he explained. “We have no legal possibility of having a child with a surrogate mother in Israel. Because it won’t allow that, the state is obliged to share with us the costs of the alternative, by the very fact of recognizing the maternity leave.”
The overall cost of the IVF procedure, including all expenses, is estimated by Gher to be over NIS 130,000. Meanwhile, his partner’s request for a leave is presently being debated at a labor court.
New Family organization lawyer Irit Rosenblum, who represents the couple, praised the NII decision. “This is an important milestone on the way to equity for the rights of the same-sex family in Israel. Up to now, the approach of the institute was detrimental to the rights and welfare of children in such families,” she said.
“The purpose of maternity benefits is to allow a devoted parent to answer the most important basic needs of an infant during the first months of its life,” Rosenblum added. “The needs of a male and female parents are identical in this situation, and the time has come for the legislator and the authorities to face reality and prevent gender discrimination in basic family rights.”
Tel Aviv’s District Labor Court is presently debating a precedent-setting lawsuit by two men seeking leave following the birth of their daughter from a surrogate mother in the United States.

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We Did Not Even Have 15 Seconds in Mumbai!

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Single men turning to surrogates

NEW YORK (CNN) — Jeff Walker says from as far back as he can remember, he always wanted to be a father.

Alexandra. 

Walker decided to father a second child through surrogacy after he and his parner split. The result: Alexandra.picture-1

“It was always something I knew, from the time I was a child.” Just like his 3-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, who says she wants to be a mommy someday, Jeff says, “I knew I wanted to be a daddy.”

Walker, a Manhattan music executive, says he and his partner had talked about adopting a baby years ago. But after three emotionally draining, failed attempts at adoption, they decided to turn to surrogacy. They contacted Circle Surrogacy, a Boston agency that specializes in gay clients. Their child was conceived with a donor egg, and then the embryo implanted in the surrogate, or carrier.

After Elizabeth was born, Walker and his partner separated. He then made a critical decision — to become a dad again, single, and by choice.

“I realized my family, my two-dad family was going to look different than I thought it was going to look,” he said. Without a partner, he would face even steeper challenges raising Elizabeth and a sibling alone. Walker says he gave the decision a lot of thought.

“That was the only part that was really controversial, because I do think there are a lot of challenges that single parents face, but at the same time I felt I was capable of handling those challenges,” he said.

His second daughter, Alexandra, was born two years ago to the same surrogate, implanted with an egg from a different donor.

Walker, 45, is one of a growing number of single men — both gay and straight — who are opting to become fathers alone, with the help of gestational surrogacy.

Surrogacy experts say because the practice is not regulated, many surrogacy arrangements are handled privately by individuals. Precise figures are hard to come by, but experts say there’s no doubt the United States is experiencing a surrogacy baby boom.

Celebrities like Ricky Martin and Clay Aiken announced this year they had had babies with the help of surrogates and the the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, representing scores of reproductive clinics, reports that the number of gestational surrogate births in the country quadrupled between 1996 and 2006. 

Surrogacy experts say gestational surrogacy has increased steadily since the advent of in vitro fertilization in the early 1980s, because it provides an extra layer of emotional and legal protection for the client. The egg donor usually does not even know the client, and unlike the legally contentious “Baby M” case from the 1980s, the surrogate is not giving birth to her genetic child.

“It rises as an issue far less frequently with gestational surrogacy, because women never see it as their child to begin with,” said John Weltman, president of Circle Surrogacy.

His agency, which expects more than 70 babies to be born in 2009, has seen a 50 percent growth in the number of single male clients over the past year.

Walker and other men are willing to pay well over $100,000 to have a baby through surrogacy — the final cost depending on the number of IVF treatments necessary and how much is paid by insurance.

Circle is not the only major surrogacy provider experiencing a single-dad surge. At Growing Generations, a Los Angeles, California, agency that facilitates about 100 births a year, the number of single men seeking surrogates has doubled in the past three years, spokeswoman Erica Bowers said.

Although most of their single male clients are gay, surrogacy providers say a smaller but growing number are straight. Steven Harris, a New York malpractice and personal-injury attorney, says he gave up trying to get married when he realized his primary motive was to start a family.

Harris, 54, says he knew he made the right decision after 21-month old Ben was born.

“I thought getting married was the only way to go, because I did want a family. But having Ben, I feel complete now,” Harris says. 

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British surrogacy ruling saves baby twins from Ukraine orphanage

A British couple this week won custody over a pair of twins born to a
surrogate mother in the Ukraine. The twin babies were caught in a legal
loophole whereby the expectant British couple were unable to bring the twins
into the UK, as they were not recognised by English law as the parents.
Simultaneously, the Ukrainian biological mother no longer had any
responsible for, or even rights over, the children under Ukrainian law as
this (in contrast to UK legislation) gives binding effect to surrogacy
arrangements. Consequently, had the British couple failed to gain the
‘parental order’ for custody of the children, the twins would have been
returned to the Ukraine and placed in an orphanage.
The situation arose as a result of the couple being unable to find a
surrogate mother in the UK, where it is illegal to pay a woman more than her
expenses in a surrogacy arrangement, were advised to look abroad to a more
permissive jurisdiction, and subsequently employed the services of a
commercial surrogacy organisation in the Ukraine for a fee of around
£23,000. However, as the surrogate mother was married, the UK father, who
supplied the sperm, is not considered to be the father under UK law
(specifically s.28 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990) and
thus was unable to bring the children to the UK after birth. Though the Home
Office gave special leave for the children to enter the country pending the
High Court ruling, had the application for custody failed. The peculiar
legal effect of the disparity between the two legal systems is that the
children had, until the date of the court order, no legal parents and no
nationality.
The case highlights the ongoing problems surrounding the legal status of
surrogacy in the UK. Mr Justice Hedley, in his judgement on the case, stated
that ‘surrogacy remains an ethically controversial area’ and that
international surrogacy arrangements raise potentially difficult problems of
a kind not experienced with domestic agreements. However at present it is
impossible to enforce a surrogacy arrangement in the UK and the couple’s
solicitor, Natalie Gamble, stated that the UK surrogacy law requires urgent
updating to reflect the realities of modern fertility practices and that
currently it provides inadequate protection to vulnerable children. This
view was reflected in the court’s judgment, which noted the case
‘highlighted the wisdom’ of a review to surrogacy law (as proposed during
the debates on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, earlier this
year) and expressing a hope that the problems experienced by the couple ‘may
alert others to the difficulties inherent in this journey’.

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