This case is ALL about equality and social justice from the start where prevailing laws fall short. We are convinced in the future, there will be equal rights but will the siblings benefit from them by growing up apart? As the world today is still debating equal rights for LGBTI, respect for all individuals, respect for diversity, freedom to say the truth, we sit on the other side of the hyperbole. We went beyond the calling for basic human rights multiple times in good faith without threatening anyone with suicide and now we are waiting for our turn when we will have equal rights for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) parents regardless of gender or assumed gender. When the truth began to unravel for us, we thought our actions were ahead of our times by maybe ten years or so. Little did we know, we were actually behind by about a century. Trying to be different has cost us human rights of our own and that of our innocent children among several other violations. Change takes birth from injustice to someone, somewhere. If you care about innocent children then you will join us to get laws changed which requires stating the TRUTH. Secrecy, lies, frauding unsuspecting and innocent individuals is a failed approach and is criminal. After all the pontification and justification, regardless where you stand, splitting siblings is the wrong answer because they are innocent and they are children. Whatever your justification is, please add two sentences at the end – “…and thats why its OK to abandon an innocent child and place them in legal limbo” AND “…and thats why its OK to alienate a son from his primary care provider and his sister that he wanted”. It maybe difficult to digest but it is true, IVF is not ONLY for infertile women. There are other human beings in this world who may be just as loving a parent and someone who the child considers a primary care provider or the traditional role of a mother. Single fathers, gay fathers, fathers with a spouse who is medically unavailable, are all loving fathers who care deeply about their children and sadly in 2014, they still have to prove this. This is sadder for the child because they are the ones being alienated fromt heir primary care provider who happens to be a male.
Why Speak-Up Now?
This case is much BIGGER than individuals. If there are international LAWS for adoption, if there are international LAWS for child abduction, why are there no international LAWS for IVF/surrogacy? This case HIGHLIGHTS the need for EQUAL RIGHTS for IVF children and families. There are multiple traumatic complex issues in this case. Saying the truth with humility, civility, and dignity is the right path. Some people do threaten suicide to get what they want, we choose truth instead. The root cause is the cloak of secrecy because of a sensitive and traumatic medical condition. How many people should suffer and lie to hide one lie? It is time to stop this secrecy based approach and think of the entire ecosystem as patients. We are convinced once everyone gets to know the facts, it will spawn multiple laws, policy changes, and a civilized understanding of basic human decency. Once you get to know the facts, you will agree that unless you have selfless love and compassion of a caregiver, there is no way anyone can undergo so much. The unreporting of the fraud and crimes does not mean the facts did not occur. Worse, that cannot be used against the caregiver to separate the innocent child from his siblings and biological family. Secrecy and lying are a failed approach even if everyone does it, why repeat the same mistakes of secrecy and lying to another category of minority children – IVF children and expect different outcome?
1) Love for the children – What will the Siblings want? It is How the break-up occurred. Had the siblings been united amicably together instead of dividing them, it would be different. Had innocent Medhavi not been abandoned, it would be different. If we effectively had shared custody of Vedant where we can see him, touch him, hug him, kiss him, talk to him freely, it would be different. The current situation effectively is where one sibling cannot meet the other, the innocent child has no effective physical access to his biological family, seems more like when your biological child is snatched from you by a person who is desperate to have a child. Maulik was left for dead and is lucky to have survived but still has to live under threats. Would the siblings be growing up together if Maulik was an 46, XX chromosome intersex person whose physical appearance is male but internally is female? Because of the complicated legal jurisdictions, there is no court who has heard the best interest of both the siblings combined. Having equal rights for IVF children and families is a greater good and a much bigger cause.
2) The loving grandparents are fast aging and looking at the possibility of not seeing their grandson ever again. Their sacrifices and wisdom have to be shared with Vedant. He deserves it. It is time to speak up.
3) Surrogacy is on the rise, what are the rights of the innocent, abandoned IVF child? What are the rights of the left-behind IVF family? Are the needs of the IVF child and left-behind family any different than when a genetic male abandons a pregnancy? There are infants who are raised by loving and aging grandparents with huge cost to their health when a mother dies at child birth. This case is different. This is an abandoned IVF pregnancy by an intended parent. Treating IVF child like a disposable asset is disrespectful to the child and their child rights.
4) The medical community needs to stop doing Sex Reassignment Surgery and Hormone Replacement Therapy on intersex patients DURING a marriage in its current state. Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Either give equal rights, resources, and information to spousal caregivers of intersex like parental caregivers of intersex or STOP it. It creates HAVOC in a marriage. The minority intersex patient community is advocating the same. Most people may not have heard about intersex advocacy because of secrecy and lack of awareness.
5) The medical community needs to revisit the treatment plan for intersex in case during a marriage. If they had known what we know now, they would have recommended us NOT to have a child so soon while patient is still in severe trauma and crisis after surgery. Let us prevent future blunders for the sake of innocent children. Most of the experts and researchers specializing with Intersex issues have never heard of a case like this. All agree that the severe trauma and crisis needs to be dealt with in the treatment plan including psychosocial counseling. Can a person under severe trauma and crisis with known medical symptoms of depression, fatigue, tiredness, irritability, etc. give a peaceful, calm, and loving environment to an infant as a primary care provider or should we wait for the treatment to stabilize? All Maulik has to offer is facts and is no doctor. With increasing tolerance and respect for gender diversity, cases like these will increase and it is best to provide proper guidelines.
6) Equal laws for fathers who are equally passionate about having a child. Do heterosexual IVF fathers like gay fathers have LESS rights than “natural” fathers for whom the egg, surrogate, and legal parent are all one person?
7) Uphold human rights and respect human decency. It is sad that the LGBTI do not have equal human rights. The right answer is to change the laws and not punish the ones who tried to help out of compassion and love. Trampling on human rights of a minority is NOT the way to get human rights for others. Especially, when those humans happen to be innocent children who do not comprehend or have a voice.
(8) If you question timing, please cite an equivalent precedence to assign “normal” timing? This case is the precedent, pioneering in many ways. The only precedent we have found is that biological families wait years, sometimes decades before reuniting. Our hearts and prayers are with them as theirs with us. The path of truth leads to justice. Fait acompli will be defeated.
9) The abuse and trauma to Maulik and children is a separate discussion. Maulik was in a marriage that legally is not even recognized if the truth is ascertained. Maulik has been aptly reminded that showing compassion and love instead of reporting the fraud and crimes was wrong. Statistically, as per NIH, 1 in 20000 people have CAIS which would make it 350000 people in the world of 7 billion. There are no statistics for caregivers like Maulik but it is a much smaller number than 1 in a billion!!! Maulik has done everything possible a man can do but is still judged by the stereotypes against his gender using intimidation and bias rather than his own actions. In a way, his fight is much like the fight of LGBTI people but has to wait. First, the ongoing struggles for equal laws for LGBTI will be resolved and then the equal laws for caregiver and children of LGBTI and then rights of IVF fathers will be addressed . Unfortunately, Maulik’s wait for equality is also imposed on his innocent kids.
Enough sacrifices have been made in silence. The silence is deafening, especially watching the two innocent kids growing up separately and ironically, they both remind us of each other. We have to think from their perspective.
We went on unchartered territories not because it was easy but because of good moral intent and faith. It is the same message we want to send to our kids – something that will stand the test of time even when they are adults and fathom all this. I have a dream that some day just like women have fought deservedly to get equal rights in the workplace, fathers who care will get equal rights as a parent at home – especially for Vedant since he is a male – a father in the making. Let us change stereotypes one kid at a time.
Speaking-Up is not easy. Maulik has been called several brutal names. A lot of demonization and defamation has occurred to achieve individual ulterior motives and special interest group agendas. Having to forcibly display the facts is not easy. It is the experience of a decade that gives the courage to say the truth with humility, civility and dignity.
A lot of people have offered to help us. Given the complexity of the facts and being a very emotional subject and asking for people to drastically CHANGE the traditional stereotype, we expect people to fight back for their own personal/political/social agenda because they are scared of the precedent we are setting. The ONLY precedent we are interested in setting is the TRUTH. Together we can change stereotypes. It is insensitive otherwise. We ourselves are victims of stereotypes. A lot of demonization and defamation has already occurred for a personal ulterior motive. Whether the system is complicit or not, are we fighting an individual or a system, it is hard to judge when documentary evidence is being tainted. It is time to stop. Take a timeout and ask yourself, whatever you do will it benefit the children? Is it worth it to change the stereotype?
Let’s Be Human – Let’s Welcome Change, Let’s Evolve
As Gandhiji said, “Become the Change you want to see in Others”.
To achieve the personal/political/social agenda which essentially revolves around resisting to change, people may choose to lie, may fake documents, may fabricate evidence to manipulate the system, may continue to lie and defame and demonize. People may even collectively come up with a perfectly logical explanation to justify their decision or rather satisfy their soul. We have already witnessed and experienced this behavior. None of this will prevail, only truth prevails. In the end, the question we ask is any of the action(s) for the good of uniting the siblings?
Truth with Humility, Civility, and Dignity
We choose to fight the battle of truth on moral high ground. The same moral high ground we demonstrated when we had the two lovely kids. It is not good to talk about one’s good deeds. The question for the system is what we term as “sacrifices” amount to any crimes? We work on a moral system, our kids being united works on a legal system.
We begin this journey to unite siblings on saying the truth with humility, civility, and dignity. In sharing the facts, we have followed the guidelines below.
- Look ahead to the future so when the siblings grow up, they should be proud that their biological family fought for the truth. They should also be proud that they fought for the truth with humility, civility, and dignity.
- We have left out the ghory details in a public place or as the system would call it evidence or crime for two reasons. One it brings back the worst memories and sends chills down the spine and it becomes hard to move on. That does not mean it did not happen. Second, we want to deal with the truth with humility, civility, and dignity as much as we can for the siblings’ sake. We are open to sharing all the evidence and facts with the appropriate authorities in private.
- We have left out the interpersonal parts out. That does not mean the abuse and trauma did not occur for Maulik. When you have been frauded, it is hard to be intimate in any way. Any reasonable expectation of enjoying a normal sexual and emotional relationship was destroyed.
- We believe in karma. We believe it was definitely karmic that these two families met. Whatever transpired is past. It is how we move forward that defines us as humans. We look at the past and believe it was our karma to sacrifice and we move forward. What we call sacrifices, the system may call it abuse, or a crime metted out at us. That is for the system to investigate.