The Sacred Thread: A True Story of Becoming a Mother and Finding a Family—Half a World Away

Adrienne Arieff. Crown, $24 (240p) ISBN 978-0-307-71668-2
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In this rather rosy account of employing an Indian fertility clinic in order to conceive, a San Francisco media specialist constantly returns to the question: is surrogacy an opportunity for Third World mothers or exploitation? Arieff and her lawyer husband were well off, in their mid-30s, and desperate for children of their own after several miscarriages. Fearful of the legal snags of surrogacy in America, as well as the inflated costs, Arieff and her husband enlisted the services of the Oprah-approved Akanksha Infertility Clinic, in the northern small rural town of Anand, Gujarat, run by the charismatic, capable Dr. Nayna Patel. After a round of hormone shots, Arieff and her husband supplied the necessary egg and sperm to be fertilized in vitro and implanted in the surrogate, Vaina, a married mother of three from a nearby rural village. Twins were successfully conceived and over the latter course of Vaina’s pregnancy, Arieff returned to Anand, where the surrogate mothers live at the clinic, and provided gifts and company to Vaina, who showed little ambition to better her life and evidently gave her money and gifts to her husband and brother-in-law. In her breezy, upbeat narrative, Arieff does try to show both sides of the surrogacy equation, depicting the long-suffering, well-intentioned Western women who nevertheless can pay for the “Surrogacy Camp,” and the impoverished, uneducated women under patriarchal strictures that consider surrogacy a form of prostitution. For Arieff, the birth of her healthy girls far outweighed the ethical dilemma. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/02/2012
Release date: 03/13/2012
Open Ebook - 144 pages - 978-0-307-71670-5
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