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The latest: adopted embryos

india Updated: Jan 02, 2007 16:13 IST
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At what age is a child most ‘adoption-ready’? For British homemaker Wendy Duncan, it was before the first cell of life started multiplying. She adopted an embryo from India.

The Caucasian woman gave birth to a daughter — a  South Asian — in the UK after nurturing her in her womb for 36 weeks. Embryo adoption is offering a unique opportunity to mothers to deliver their adopted children. It costs about Rs 50,000, six times cheaper than an in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) cycle. The process takes about five days, while IVF could stretch up to six months or beyond.

Duncan’s daughter was born on June 4 and she is already planning a visit to Mumbai for another embryo adoption, which she described as the most ingenuous way of adopting a child. “My daughter’s origin is not a concern — I delivered her,” she told HT from her home in Market Rasen town in Lincolnshire county. Brian, her lorry driver husband, found out about facilities in India and contacted doctors.

“Such a procedure is not possible in the UK and there is a long queue for adoptions. I was 38 and could not wait. I stayed in Mumbai for five days, did the implant and went back,” she said. Sperm and egg banks are developing embryos by fertilising sperm and eggs in different permutations and combinations. Often, IVF specialists develop multiple embryos for a couple going through a full IVF cycle. After one is successfully implanted, the rest are frozen for future use.

Indian couples are waking up to the benefits. “People still discriminate between an adopted child and a biological offspring. Even  family members were hard to convince. So my husband and I decided on this,” said Ayesha Khanam (name changed), a Bandra resident who adopted an embryo in October.

In India, a birth certificate is issued in the name of the birth mother. “This perhaps offers the best option for infertile couples who cannot wait for long treatment or afford a full IVF cycle. Neither partner is belittled over impotency, which sometimes happens in egg or sperm donation,” said Anjali Malpani, who treated Duncan. “It has picked up in Mumbai,” said IVF specialist Indira Hinduja.