Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
Amid the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus, over a dozen newborn babies at the Anand surrogacy hub in Gujarat have been waiting for over a month for their biological parents to take them home.
Dr Nayna Patel of the Akanksha Infertility Centre claimed that only ten out of the 27 surrogate babies born at their hospital during the lockdown have been handed over to their parents.
The administration here is doing its best to help but in a crisis like these, it becomes very difficult even for them. "Our staff and the NICU doctor are taking care of the babies. The doctor is spending hours together answering queries of parents over the phone. We also understand the emotional toll on the parents," Dr Patel said.
Parents and babies are stuck similarly in other centres in Anand as well, The Indian Express reported.
A lucky Bengaluru couple, aged 43 and 39, managed to reach the Akanksha centre just in time for the birth of their son on April 16. Before they reached, they spent three days and 1,600 km on the road, and another 14 days in quarantine before they could finally hold their child.
The couple claimed that police stopped them at various check posts across Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat. In fact, they spent 11 hours in their car at Valsad, waiting for police to let them go, despite having permission for travel from authorities in Bengaluru.
According to their mother, the note they were carrying read "travelling for the birth of their baby", but police repeatedly said that she did not look pregnant. She said that it was difficult to explain to them what surrogacy means.
Her husband, a software professional, said, "Most of the policemen thought we were lying. At Valsad, the Gujarat Police told us to apply for permission from the state administration. We did so digitally but the first request was rejected in three hours. I had to make a second request."
While Akanksha had made arrangements for the parents to stay at a residential society nearby, they faced opposition from locals. "They created a human chain to protest… Later, with help from the administration, things were resolved. However, we do understand the concern everyone has about the pandemic. It is a helpless situation and most people are being guarded and helping as well," Dr Patel said.
"There are so many couples like us. The lack of awareness among the administration and law enforcers is making it difficult for surrogate parents to travel," the husband said.
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