Family made by the love of friends
THIS Mother’s Day, not only will Halimah Shams celebrate her two best gifts, sons Kabir and Waris, but her heroes — the two other mums who lent her their bodies to bring the boys into the world.
She and husband Sanfee Khaira had suffered 13 miscarriages in 10 years and also lost a son born too early at 24 weeks. The Neutral Bay couple turned to paid surrogacy in India but, when their embryos died, they abandoned all hope.
But in 2012, friend Amanda Saxby, herself a mother of four, offered to carry a child for the couple. Kabir was born on Christmas Day 2012.
“It’s such a huge ask and you don’t want to put anyone in that position, and it was not just her but the whole family,” Mrs Shams, 45, said.
Mrs Saxby, 48, said she would have done it again if she was younger. “I didn’t think twice about it. Yes it was hard some days when you felt like rubbish, but I could not imagine going through life not experiencing having your own child,” the mother of four from Glenmore Park said.
Commercial surrogacy is banned in Australia. Any woman who offers to carry another couple’s child has to do so altruistically and pass psychological testing by the IVF clinic.
When Mrs Shams’ friends met Amanda at Kabir’s baby shower, fate took another turn.
“I wanted my circle of friends to meet Amanda at the baby show and she inspired another friend of mine, Simran Mehta who said: ‘ When you are ready, I’d love to help you out if you want another child’,” Mrs Shams said.
The lucky last embryo took and seven weeks ago, Waris was born.
“Without them, I am not a mum, so the heroes of this story are these wonderful women,” Mrs Shams said.
Sanfee Khaira and Halimah Shams and their children.