West Auckland couple call for woman to be their surrogate

By Sarah Harris

After 11 years of trying to have a baby, Ankita Majumder wants to be like any other mother and hear the pitter patter of her child's feet running towards her.

But she and her husband Richard Henderson, 40, need a woman willing to be their surrogate to do it - and they have taken their search online.

Majumder, 39, has had five miscarriages and undergone several attempts to get pregnant. They include: five rounds of artificial insemination, two rounds of in vitro fertilisation, eight embryo transfers, ovulation induction (trying to increase ovulation with medication) and ovarian drilling (small holes drilled in ovaries to release more eggs).

She estimated the procedures cost well over $10,000, a considerable sum for the West Auckland product manager and postie.

When she was 21, Majumder was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome which is when small cysts on ovaries create a hormonal imbalance, making it more difficult to get pregnant.

Every time she miscarries, Majumder's heart breaks over the child they could have had. She said her and her husband try to hide their sadness from those around them.

"It just hits me really hard seeing children everywhere, seeing pregnant women everywhere.

"When we go on holiday [and see children] it hurts. For the first two days we went to Fiji I just cried.

"It's one thing all women seem to do naturally and I can't do it.

"We're hoping someone in New Zealand might be kind enough to do this for us. It's been such a difficult journey."

As a last resort the couple approached the Herald to help them find a traditional surrogate. They have also started a Facebook page to aid their search.

A traditional surrogate's own egg is fertilised by the father's sperm and she would carry the child, with Majumder and Henderson adopting it after it was born.

Commercial surrogacy is not permitted in New Zealand which means the surrogate mother cannot be paid. However, all surrogate expenses can be compensated.

When she didn't conceive in her first marriage in 2005, Majumder put it down to troubles in the relationship.

After marrying Henderson in 2011 and not falling pregnant naturally the couple started to explore the various procedures to increase fertility. But nothing worked.

"Every procedure available we've done it. I've done whatever I could," Majumder told the Herald.

"In the process I've really harmed my body."

Henderson hated seeing his wife in pain.

"The negative effects were horrendous. She was completely listless and nauseous all the time, like a zombie.

"I don't want to put her through that again."

Henderson didn't get to grow up with his dad as his parents separated when he was young. He wants to do the things he missed out on like building a tree house and kicking a ball around with his own child.

"I've got that feeling inside me that I want to be a dad. It'll be a well-loved child."

After Majumder's last round of IVF in 2016 her doctor suggested they look at other options as her chances of getting pregnant were very low. They looked at getting an egg donor from Bangkok but the medical specialists said they no longer did that procedure.

Majumder said it was hard to put their "very personal" plight on Facebook. But they wanted to ensure no stone was left unturned. They have no requirements for the surrogate except that they're healthy and willing.

"You're putting your whole life on hold for us. There's nothing in the world that could replace this.

"It's a huge commitment people would need days and weeks to get their head around it.

"Maybe by the time this journey is over we'll learn to live without hoping for a miracle. But at least we'll know we tried everything."

Fertility specialist Dr Mary Birdsall thought about 15 to 20 surrogacy cycles happen in New Zealand a year with about one third of those resulting in a successful birth.

She said surrogacies needed to be approved by an ethics committee. While for some the process could be frustrating, it meant that all parties involved understood and were prepared for their role. This process has been designed to prevent people undertaking surrogacy who might otherwise consider keeping the child.

Email rasurrogate@gmail.com to contact the couple.

- Herald on Sunday

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