Home' Greymouth Star : April 17th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 7
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uLetters to the editor
1421 - e sea breaks through the dikes at
Dort, in the Netherlands, drowning more than
1790 - Death of American scientist and
statesman Benjamin Franklin.
1960 - US rock star Eddie
Cochran dies in a car crash while on
tour with Gene Vincent in Britain.
1961 - Attempt to invade Cuba by
1500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles fails
at the Bay of Pigs.
1964 - Ford Motor Company
unveils its new Mustang model.
1969 - Sirhan B Sirhan is found guilty of the
rst degree murder of former US attorney-
general Robert F Kennedy.
1975 - Khmer Rouge guerrillas seize Phnom
Penh and begin a reign of terror in which more
than one million people die.
1998 - Linda McCartney, photographer and
wife of former Beatle Paul, dies from cancer.
2003 - Robert Atkins, advocate of a
controversial high protein diet, dies after
slipping on an icy street.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
J Pierpont Morgan, US nancier (1837-
1913); Nikita Khrushchev, Soviet statesman
(1894-1971); ornton Wilder, US novelist
and playwright (1897-1975);
William Holden, US actor (1918-
1981); Olivia Hussey, British actress
(1951-); Nick Hornby, English
author (1957-); Maynard James
Keenan, US musician (1964-);
Jennifer Garner, US actress (1972-);
Victoria Beckham, UK singer and
designer (1974-); Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, French
tennis player (1985-).
" ere are worse things in life than death.
Have you ever spent an evening with an
--- Woody Allen, US director, actor (1935-).
"But our citizenship is in Heaven, and it is
from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the
Lord Jesus Christ." --- (Philippians 3.20).
Memories of the
past were evoked for
Mrs E J McEachen
when she was turning
out some boxes of old papers recently: she
came upon a bundle of yellowing newsheets
entitled Jacksons Bay Chronicle. Beneath the
banner heading appeared, Edited by Beatrice
Reading through them recalled vividly
for her, life in the remote South Westland
settlement when her husband was paymaster
for the public works camp there. e
Jackson Bay camp has long been abandoned,
dismantled and moved to Haast, but when Mrs
McEachen arrived there a small town of tents
stood in the bay. Buildings being erected gave
an air of permanency about the settlement.
It was not long before she became
over whelmingly aware of "what a lot there was
to write about" --- and complied and edited
a monthly newspaper for people living at the
camp. Within a year the Chronicle had grown
to eight pages, cost 3d a copy and had 400
e life of the Chronicle came to an end in
1940, when Mrs McEachen's husband enlisted
and she came to Christchurch before her
husband left for service overseas. He later died
e concerned agitation of Paroa
organisations to have a footpath constructed to
take pedestrians, particularly children, o the
narrow and busy highway south of Greymouth,
seems likely to achieve success.
It now seems the Grey County Council will
receive National Roads Board approval for the
work before the long-delayed widening of the
road between Greymouth and the Taramakau
is undertaken by the Ministry of Works.
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (o ce)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
Sports Editor Tui Bromley
Chief Reporter Laura Mills
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
Healy s view
Paul and Angela Ashcroft were
on a plane, ying somewhere
over Australia, when their
twin daughters Nicole and
Peta were born.
"Paul and I looked at each
other and the sun was just coming through
the clouds and I said 'I've just got this
funny feeling our babies are being born' and
they were," Mrs Ashcroft recalls.
e Wellington couple, in their mid-40s
at the time in June 2012, created the babies
in India using in vitro fertilisation (IVF)
and paid a gestational surrogate to carry the
Eight months later they got a call to say
the surrogate was in labour, two weeks early.
Unlike most expectant parents who head
to hospital, they boarded a plane bound for
"We didn't nd out our girls had been
born until we checked into our hotel and
we were in a state of shock."
e Ashcrofts were the rst New Zealand
couple to take advantage of commercial
surrogacy laws in India, which is only
one of a handful of countries that allow
surrogates to be paid.
As a result of the 2002 law, lower costs,
increasing medical infrastructure and
the availability of surrogates, the country
has emerged as a hotspot for this type of
International surrogacy, also legal in the
United States, ailand, the Ukraine and
at least one state in Mexico, is a growing
trend for couples and singles, both gay and
straight, seeking ways to overcome the
hurdles biological, technological, nancial,
and legal of having children.
e subject was the hot topic at the fth
Congress of the Asia Paci c Initiative
on Reproduction (ASPIRE Conference)
in Brisbane this month. Closer to home
members of the Law Society heard
presentations from fertility specialists on
the issue last week.
Fertility Associates group operations
manager Dr John Peek says New Zealand
had always aligned itself ethically with
European standards but with the amount of
reproductive technology exploding in Asia
it could no longer be ignored.
" ere's going to be a lot more
reproductive tourism in this part of the
world," Dr Peek says.
" e number of clinics and the number of
treatments in India is growing by 25% each
year. I think in some ways we have to learn
how to co-exist with some ethical things
on our doorstep that are very di erent from
our own without saying, 'Oh, we've got
nothing to do with it'."
Medical visas are becoming commonplace
and overseas governments are encouraging
fertility tourism because of the economic
About 3000 clinics in India o er
surrogacy services to foreigners, generating
more than $400 million per year for the
economy according to a study by Sama,
a non-government group for women and
Dr Peek says New Zealanders are
becoming more open to the fast-evolving
fertility tourism market.
"What people are doing with their
teeth and cosmetic surgery this decade
they might think about doing in other
more meaty areas of medicine such as
reproduction in the future. As other
countries improve their regulation and
reliability and customer service then I think
it's going to become more of a reality."
An estimated 2000 foreign babies are
born to Indian surrogates each year but the
industry is largely unregulated.
Two international incidents shone an
embarrassing spotlight on surrogacy in
India when two sets of parents did not
complete the adoption process and were
stopped at their home borders.
In both cases the Indian
Government stepped in, resulting in
the Indian Ministry of Home A airs
ruling in July 2012 that foreigners
needed medical instead of tourist
visas to engage a surrogate.
Only heterosexual couples who
have been married at least two years
and who come from countries that
also permit surrogacy can now apply
--- amounting to a ban on single, gay,
and unmarried people, and on those
evading their home laws to have
e tighter restrictions have helped
to popularise ailand as another
surrogacy destination but India is still
the only country where the intended
parents are recognised as the legal
Fertility Associates group
counsellor adviser Sue Saunders says
a child cannot be "imported to New
Zealand" without a huge amount of
" ey don't get passports and they
don't get automatic immigration."
She tells a cautionary tale about a
New Zealand couple who tried to
return home with a baby born to
a surrogate in Asia but who were
stopped because they did not have
the appropriate legal documents.
" ey thought it was like Australia
where if you could prove a genetic
link you'd be allowed to come in.
e husband was working here and
the mother and child were stuck in
It took 18 months before the couple
could get their child into New Zealand.
e lesson for people considering overseas
surrogacy is to hire a lawyer who specialises
in international adoption, Mrs Saunders
When the Ashcrofts travelled to India it
was on a tourist visa, before the new law
"It was very nerve-racking doing it
because there was no proven way to come
back to New Zealand at that time," Mrs
e couple spent months researching the
legal requirements of the process, getting
all the necessary paperwork in order to be
able to bring the twins back before they
embarked on the journey.
ey had spent 10 years trying to
conceive a baby themselves but fertility
complications, health problems and limited
nances almost ended their dream, until
Mr Ashcroft inherited some money and
Mrs Ashcroft's friend saw a documentary
on surrogacy in India.
" e rst time I went to India I was
just so overwhelmed by the poverty," Mrs
"I just looked at my husband Paul and
said can we even start a family in this
situation? It was a culture shock.
"You don't think that this is what your life
is going to come to, to have a family."
Clinic fees and surrogacy cost the couple
$40,000 but that did not include legal fees,
ights and accommodation for two trips
to Mumbai --- and time o work for up to
seven weeks at a time.
ey chose Corion Fertility Clinic to
create their embryos, 19 in all.
Of those, four were inserted in their
If more than two survived the Ashcrofts
were contractually obliged to reduce
to twins because of the health risks to
the surrogate in the case of triplets or
But by putting four embryos in at once a
couple's chance of "conceiving" is doubled
and in the Ashcrofts' case only two embryos
eir remaining embryos were eventually
destroyed, under the terms of their contract.
Corion impregnates about two surrogates
a week, who must be under the age of 30
and have completed their own family.
e surrogate can give birth to a total of
only ve children, including her own.
e women are then cared for, free of
work commitments, in a surrogacy home
where the clinic oversees medical attention,
diet and hygiene to ensure a healthy live
ey may visit and receive visits from
their families during the nine months
before the baby is born at the top-quality
e were no signs of coercion at Corion
--- when a woman is forced into surrogacy
by poverty-stricken family members ---
according to Mrs Ashcroft.
Surrogates used by reputable clinics, such
as Corion, are vetted through psychological
testing before signing on.
With 80% of India's 1.27 billion
population "below the breadline" surrogacy
provides a lifeline for some families, Mrs
"Our money is helping one family. At
least that family has a better future or a
future they're more in control of because
e money is almost always used to
pay for better education for the surrogate
mother's own children.
She believes negative spin on surrogacy
in India, dubbed "rent a womb" by some
critics, has been propagated in the United
" ey've lost a lot of money to the Indian
market, particularly the fertility clinics."
She calls their surrogate a "wonderful
caring person whose generous gift changed
our life forever".
"It concerns me the debate in the media
that diminishes this act of kindness.
"It takes away from the wonderful spirit
of the Indian culture and their love of
children that give them the understanding
and empathy to help other couples such as
Mrs Saunders says people do not have to
go overseas to nd a surrogate, the option
is available here but couples must get
permission from the Ethics Committee on
Assisted Reproductive Technology.
at process can take months and cost
several thousand dollars depending on
whether the couple are eligible for public
Mrs Saunders says in some cases that
could be an easier process to negotiate.
"Until New Zealand laws change and
recognise births overseas it's a huge
challenge for any couple to have a
surrogate overseas. I think it's a bigger
challenge for them to do that than to work
their way through the clinic system."
e Ashcrofts made the decision to
go public with their story when they
launched a website to help other couples
with international surrogacy.
Since they returned from India they have
helped another four couples --- one with
twins, another who are expecting a single
baby in July, a third who are expecting
twins and a fourth who are currently
undergoing IVF in India.
eir website, India Surrogacy New
Zealand, has received 50 inquiries in the
past year from couples wanting to know
more about international surrogacy.
It is almost two years since the Ashcrofts
made that trip to Mumbai to meet their
daughters and bring them home.
eir girls are unaware of the
momentous e ort made to have them. For
the 22-month-old toddlers, life is all about
"tears and tiaras".
"When we're out with our girls in New
Zealand, no one knows our journey," Mrs
Ashcroft says. "We're just another couple
at the playground or having lunch with
India's Akanksha Infertility Clinic is
the country's most successful surrogate
business, delivering more than 760 babies
through surrogacy since 2002.
Medical director Dr Nayana Patel
says infertile couples will continue to
pursue international surrogacy as long as
their home country allows only unpaid
Dr Patel said most couples felt
uncomfortable or unwilling to engage a
family member or friend for surrogacy.
A landmark case at Akanksha Infertility
Clinic, in Anand, Gujarat, made headlines
when a grandmother became a surrogate
for her daughter, who had a congenital
syndrome a ecting her reproductive
e daughter's embryos were implanted
in her mother's womb resulting in a live
As with the Corion Clinic in Mumbai,
the surrogates are vetted to make sure they
are attending of their own free will.
Dr Patel has also developed a trust
which educates the woman's children
and supports her family while she is in a
surrogate home for the pregnancy.
Couples seeking surrogacy at the
Akanksha clinic pay about $26,000,
covering medical services and the fee for
the surrogate to become pregnant and
carry a baby to a live birth.
Each surrogate receives about $10,000.
"It can change the lives of the surrogates
because the money they earn may allow
them to buy a home for their family, start
a small business or educate their own
Once the baby is born the surrogate has
no legal rights to the child. In India, the
intended parents are recognised as the
Dr Patel is urging all countries that
recognise paid surrogacy to develop
common rules to regulate it.
" is would make it easier for couples
to make informed and safer choices about
surrogacy and avoid any potential legal
pitfalls," she says.
"At the same time, common rules would
help to protect the rights of surrogates
who are genuinely in the business of
helping couples to achieve their dream of
India has become a hot spot for this type
of fertility tourism, thought to generate
the country $400 million a year.
About 3000 clinics o er surrogacy
ser vices and 2000 foreign babies are born
annually in India to surrogates.
Five couples from New Zealand have
pursued surrogacy in India, four with
success while the other is still at the IVF
e costs, in the tens of thousands of
dollars, vary considerably but India and
ailand are cheaper than the United
In 2011-2012, there were eight
applications for surrogacy in New
Zealand, seven of which were approved.
Between 2005 and 2011, surrogacy
applications approved by New Zealand's
ethics committee resulted in 33 births.
--- New Zealand Herald
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
Kali Ashari, the twins' surrogate mother, feeds Peta. Insert: e Ashcrofts' twin daughters Nicole, left, and Peta in India shortly after
they were born.
India has become a popular destination for families wanting to use a surrogate to have children. While
leaving New Zealand allows them to avoid what can be a long wait, it is by no means an easy journey.
What does a tiny fruit y have
in common with the world's most
advanced ghter jets like the United
States Air Force's F-22 Raptor?
More than you might think.
Scientists using video cameras to
track a y's aerial manoeuvres found
the insect employs astonishingly
quick mid-air banked turns to
evade predators much like a ghter
jet executes to elude an enemy.
eir study, published recently
in the journal Science, documents
aerial agility in fruit ies such as the
capacity to begin to change course
in less than one one-hundredth of
e fact that ies are airborne
acrobats should not surprise anyone
who has ever swung a yswatter at
one, only to watch the little insects
e researchers at the University
of Washington synchronised three
high-speed cameras operating at
7500 frames a second to learn the
secrets of what the ies do to make
themselves so elusive.
ey tracked the mid-air wing
and body motion of the fruit y
species Drosophila hydei, which
is about the size of a sesame
seed, inside a cylindrical ight
chamber after the insects were
shown an image that suggested an
e ies produced impressive
escape responses, almost
instantaneously rolling their bodies
like a military jet in a banked turn
to steer away. While executing the
turn, the ies showed that they
could roll on their sides by upwards
of 90 degrees, sometimes ying
almost upside down.
" ey generate a rather precise
banked turn, just like an aircraft
pilot would, to roll the body and
generate a force to take them
away from the threat," University
of Washington biology professor
Michael Dickinson, who led the
" at happens very quickly. And
it's generated with remarkably
subtle changes in wing motion.
We were pretty astonished by how
little they have to do with their
wing motion to generate these very
precise manoeuvres," he said.
e y aps its wings about 200
times a second, and in almost a
single wing beat can reorient its
body to maneuver away from the
threat and continue to accelerate,
Florian Muijres, another of the
researchers, said in a statement.
"I suspect that these are very
ancient re exes," Dickinson added.
"Very shortly after insects evolved
ight, other insects evolved ight
to eat them. Circuits for detecting
predators are very, very ancient. But
this one is just being implemented
in a high-performance ight
A lot of light was needed
to accommodate the cameras'
extraordinarily high shutter speeds,
but because a y would be blinded
by the necessary amounts of normal
light, the researchers used very
bright infrared lights. Like people,
fruit ies do not see infrared light.
"I've always been fascinated by
ies. Everybody thinks that they
have a simple nervous system, but
I think it's exactly the opposite.
ey just have a really tiny one. But
it's incredibly compact. ey do so
much with just this brain the size of
a salt grain," Dickinson said.
Fruit fly moves like a jet fighter
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