BENGALURU: On August 10, Nisha Mehta (name changed) broke down when she got a call from Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai informing her that a baby boy was born from one last vial of her late husband’s sperm.
After sleepless nights and endless turmoil that Nisha faced after her husband passed away in a car accident, she decided to go ahead with an unconventional decision of having a baby with the last few samples of her husband’s sperm. “I cried... I couldn’t believe it worked. These were the last two embryos.
And I didn’t tell anyone at first. For weeks. I wanted to be sure. Then I told my mom, my mother-in-law, my sister and my best friend. And after five months, pretty much everyone,” she says.
But the journey over the last three years hasn’t been easy for the 36-year-old marketing consultant, for whom Bengaluru is now home. Just as her husband and she had started planning a family, life took a tragic turn. In 2015, her husband was involved in a fatal accident. “We were a working couple, had known each other forever, and had just started on our family plan,” she says.
But the idea of having his baby kept her focused. She also blogged to “vent out” what she was going through, and underwent therapy to deal with the loss.
During IVF, doctors managed to save one vial of sperm and collected several eggs. When she wasn’t able to conceive herself, she decided to go in for surrogacy. “I had the last few embryos left. I tried everything for almost two years and nothing was working. None of the tests were able to identify anything wrong, so we couldn’t even take corrective measures. And once this last set of embryos was over, all my hopes of having his baby would crash. So I decided to try a surrogate,’’ she says.
Support from her family and respect for her decision, despite being unconventional, helped Nisha. “I worked with single-minded focus on getting this done — it was my fight to sort of get him (husband) back in a sense. So I didn’t doubt my decision at any time. Of course, doing it alone was tough, and IVF is a difficult process to go through — even as a couple,” she says.
While the first round of IVF was done in Bengaluru, she went to Mumbai because the doctor there was recommended by trusted friends. “With my husband gone, I had only a limited amount of sperm sample left, and I wanted to make sure it was handled by the best,” she says.
The period was nothing short of stressful, and Nisha admits that IVF, essentially being a hormone-based therapy, only adds additional stress. “All I was thinking was that if my husband was around, I wouldn’t have to go through this at all,” she says.
Being in a different city wasn’t easy either. “I missed my husband a lot then. Sometimes you just need someone to hold your hand and sit. But family rushed to my side. I also found friends there who helped. The hospital staff knew my story, and were supportive,” she says.
Now, like any other new parent, Nisha is also experiencing sleepless nights, exhaustion, wonder, love and adjustment. “He’s changed my life and I won’t have it any other way. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child — I’m glad I have it,” she says.
But Nisha laments that people still don’t understand IVF or surrogacy. Perhaps more discussion on this topic — facts, how it works, anecdotes, and an advice column maybe — would help shed the taboo, and more people can benefit from it, she says.