Surrogate mother yearns for India, says unborn child's well after Nepal quake

Surrogate mother eager to return to India after quake
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Surrogate mother eager to return to India after quake 02:20

Story highlights

  • A surrogate mother from India will soon give birth to her child in Nepal
  • The nervous father, who's in Israel, didn't know the fate of her and the child until they talked by phone
  • The mother, who'll give birth in about a week, says she misses her child in India

Kathmandu, Nepal (CNN)Nafisa is one of the many surrogate mothers here in Nepal waiting to give birth.

She is in the middle of three different worlds -- she arrived in Kathmandu in March from India to give birth to a surrogate child from Israel. The earthquake affected her here in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, and the surrogate parents nearly 3,000 miles away in Tel Aviv.
She says that the moment the earthquake happened, she felt faint and lost consciousness, but she is doing fine now. The yet-to-be-born baby's father, Ronen Ziv, who's in Israel, says he and his partner had no way of contacting Nafisa to find out if she was OK when the earthquake stuck.
    They have never spoken or communicated, until now. Nafisa tells us she hasn't even seen a picture of the parents-to-be from Israel, even though she was selected to carry the baby after the parents saw her photograph.
    The earthquake has affected Nepal's communication network. We decide to connect Nafisa with the parents of the baby in Israel. After several attempts, the phone rings, and for the first time, Nafisa and Ziv speak to each other on the phone, excited to hear each other's voices. Nafisa assures Ziv that the baby is doing fine, despite the earthquake, and she is feeling well.
    Ziv tells her about the Israeli military field hospital that is set up in Kathmandu to assist earthquake victims, and they are aware of her case and happy to assist her. Nafisa says she is more comfortable giving birth at a different hospital -- her local one in Kathmandu.
    The brief conversation, through translation, comforts both sides. With Nafisa's due date coming up in a week, Ziv assures her that he will arrive in Kathmandu as soon as she gives birth. Just before they hang up, Nafisa asks Ziv not to worry and assures him that everything will be OK. After we hang up, Nafisa has a big smile on her face and says the call made her very happy. And she is grateful that the parents-to-be are concerned about her and the baby. The simple conversation, made difficult by lack of communications, brings a ray of joy into these challenging days in Nepal.
    Nafisa says she decided to become a surrogate mother to provide a better life for her own 9-year-old daughter. She hopes that her daughter will receive a good education and a secure future. "My daughter and my parents' blessings are with me. I am doing this for my daughter. That's how I find strength," she says.
    Back home in Mumbai, Nafisa's daughter Shifa, who speaks to her mother twice a week, asks when she will be back home. Nafisa tell her daughter, who is in the third grade, that she will return very soon. When we ask her if she misses her daughter, Nafisa becomes emotional and says that she is a surrogate mother only for Shifa. Her husband deserted her, so she raises Shifa on her own. She says she misses her daughter every day.
    Nafisa is staying in Kathmandu with two other women from India who are also here to be surrogate mothers. There is camaraderie among the women as they support one another and speak about how they have taken up surrogacy to support their own children.
    Nafisa says she became a surrogate after an agent for a surrogacy company asked her if she would like to do so. When we ask her if she will be a surrogate mother again, she says that she won't be able to give birth again after this -- it will be her second cesarean section birth.
    Nafisa is happy that the earthquake has passed and there is no immediate danger. With a week to go until she is due to give birth, she passes the time patiently, knowing she will soon return to the life she left behind and the family reunion that she has been waiting for.