Kylie Gower is like many women, wanting nothing more than to be a mother.
She thought the door was permanently closed in the year 2000 when after contracting cancer of the uterus, she had a hysterectomy. The break-up of her relationship also devastated her plans.
It is now 13 years later, and this month the determined businesswoman from Victor Harbor, South Australia, has flown out to India in the hope of holding her five week old twin girls.
“In 1998 I lost twin boys, due to cancer of the uterus, leaving my then fiancé and I unable to have a baby together,” Kylie said.
“In 2012, as I approached my 37th birthday, my then fiancé and I made the controversial decision to try surrogacy and after exhaustive research, in June 2012, we travelled to New Delhi in India to meet the well respected Dr Shivani Gour at SCI Healthcare and begin the journey into parenthood.
“Little did we know the rocky road we would travel.”
And indeed it has been a rocky road for Kylie, as there have been the emotional ups and downs with one failure in the surrogacy process, the financial strain and the breakdown of her relationship with her fiancé.
But, she is ready to take on the additional challenges of being a single mother and nothing will stand in her way.
“It has been very difficult, but now I have two children to call my own and I cannot wait to see them,” Kylie said.
“On May 10, two baby girls, Namaeya and Hati, were born by emergency caesarean, weighing only 2.2 pounds and 1.6 pounds respectively and the rollercoaster ride suddenly was worth it.
“I felt both emptied out by the journey and yet full of excitement.
“I am terrified that these fragile babies might yet be taken from me.
“Words cannot describe the thanks I have for Parvati, our surrogate.
“I feel greatly indebted to the country as well and during my time in India, I’m looking forward to volunteering at a Delhi orphanage, helping children with homework and English.
“It seems so little in return for the amazing gifts I’ve received.”
People have asked Kylie “why India?” and her reply is the cost and it is legal.
“Commercial surrogacy in Australia is illegal and in the USA the average cost was around $150,000, while in India those costs were reduced to between $25,000 to $40,000,” Kylie explained.
“We communicated with couples that had successfully completed their own journey and were satisfied that the process was real,” she said.
“There is a lot of controversy surrounding surrogacy, often derided as ‘renting a womb’, yet the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) clinics are accredited and they maintain strict restrictions on the surrogacy process.”
Kylie said all surrogates are there by choice and it affords them the opportunity to improve the lives of their own children and families while providing her with two little miracles.
Surrogates are cared for through the length of the pregnancy and although having only seen her own family sparingly for the past seven months, the payment for providing this incredible service is worth several years' wages to the surrogate.
The surrogate can put her children through school and university, buy their home and hopefully fulfil some of her own dreams, so Kylie firmly believes it is a 'win-win' for all parties.
“Our meeting with Dr Gour was remarkable,” Kylie said.
“We were shown around the clinic personally and from top to bottom every door was open to us for inspection and every step of the procedure, from the acceptance of surrogates to the baby’s birth.
“We were introduced to every staff member who would assist in the whole process of us becoming parents and we even got to meet our surrogate mother, face-to-face.
“It was a surreal moment; even in spite of the language barrier, I did not have the words to say sufficient thanks to this woman for the gift she was offering us.
“At eight weeks, our first surrogate mother miscarried and not only was this heartbreaking, the news came with devastating ramifications.”
Doubts began to compound for the couple and the relationship began to break down.
“We had known that surrogacy was the difficult road, but we were a couple in love who just wanted to bring a baby into the world,” Kylie said.
“There have been times over the last few months where I did doubt the choices I’ve made, but all that is gone now.
“Where once I felt loss - and I do still feel regret - the rewards of my persistence have now outweighed any mistakes.”
Despite the growing stress, Kylie and her fiancé did not abandon the program and in September 2012 they attempted a frozen embryo transfer that wasn’t successful.
The following month they tried once again and it was then the couple finally separated.
It had become too much, but a few weeks later the news came that their surrogate was carrying twins.
While she is not biologically related to the children, she can't wait to get them back home with her. Hati is suffering with some ill-health arising from the premature birth, and Kylie's heart is on her sleeve as she flies out today, with a relative, to meet and be with her children.
“Since my separation, my journey has been kept within my own inner circle, as I know that others will judge me for my choices, but I alone have the facts specific to my case and I refuse to let ill fate stop me from having a child to complete me,“ Kylie said.
“It is all about Namaeya and Hati now and their future, as right at this moment they are fighting for their lives and they are two miracle girls."