Couple awaits surrogate to bear dead son's child

A last wish of Ravikumar and his wife, Karthiyani, both in their early 60s, is to see their yet-to-be-conceived child of their dead son before leaving this world

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Their year-long search for a woman who is kind enough to fulfil their dream by conceiving from their dead son’s sperm kept in deep-freezer at a fertility clinic in Kochi and give birth to their grandchild is yet to succeed. Several women came forward to be the surrogate mother of the couple’s grandchild.

But the money they demand for the service is beyond the dreams of a couple on hand-to-mouth existence. ‘‘They ask for Rs 20 lakh. We cannot even imagine the amount,’’ said Karthiyani, a part-time sweeper at the local village office and her husband, an aluminium fabricator. The couple lives in an unplastered one-room brick house at Mambra village near Kochi.

A niece of Karthiyani is willing but wants to keep the child with her.
“We cannot agree with her condition. We want the child of our son to grow with us in our home,” says Karthiyani.

The couple hopes that a good soul will come one day and offer the money needed to hire a womb. “We will look after the girl who bears our son’s child like our daughter,” vows Karthiyani.

The couple’s only child Ratheesh (27) died of testicular cancer at Amritha Medical College Hospital in Kochi on January 5, 2012.

The malignancy was detected a year ago while he was doing a course in sound recording in Chennai. The doctor told him that he may turn sterile after the chemotherapy because of its side effect and advised him to preserve his semen.
Accordingly, his father handed over Ratheesh’s semen to the Centre for Infertility and Assisted Reproduction in Kochi.

Semen transfer

After their son’s death, the couple resolved to preserve the memory of their son through his child. Ravikumar and Karthiyani informed the hospital that they were the legal heirs of their dead son’s semen, hospital authorities told them that the law did not permit a semen transfer. It can be claimed either by the donor or the spouse. Worse, their son had formally directed the hospital to destroy his semen in case of his death.

The hospital, however, told them that if court permits, it had no objection.
So they approached the Kerala High Court and secured a favourable order. After settling the bill of preserving the semen, the couple entrusted it with another infertility clinic which has agreed to preserve the semen as long as they want.

Because of the long unsuccessful wait for the willing woman, the couple suffers from occasional bouts of depression. “We had decided to end life several times, but the thought that the semen would be orphaned deterred us,” says Ravikumar.

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