Rita is a 33 year-old Indian woman from a lower middle class family, uneducated and eight months pregnant. She is like any other expecting mom, except that upon delivery she will amicably hand over the newborn to another couple for a whooping $ 2000 or so. Yes! Rita is among the growing number of Indian women volunteering to become surrogate mothers for childless couples.
Surrogacy – What it Means?
Donor Insemination is another name given to surrogacy. It is a medical alternative a couple decides to adhere, when the female partner cannot ovulate or is unable to carry on a pregnancy. As such, a female surrogate mother is selected who is then artificially inseminated with the sperm of the male partner. The motive, thus, is to produce a baby who will have the male’s and the surrogate’s genes.
Surrogacy in India
Though not very popular, it’s a trend that’s slowly catching up in India. There’re basically two main factors driving the growth of surrogacy industry here. The first reason behind why more and more childless couples are looking towards India for surrogacy is because of the low costs involved, superb doctors and a comparatively less rigid legal ambience than in the West.
Second, for the usually uneducated Indian females who are involved in surrogacy business, it is a respectable way to earn a living and support themselves and their family. But a lot of surrogate mothers in India prefer to live incognito during this phase because of non-acceptance by the people in general. Also most surrogate mothers in India are reported to belong from the rural background where the lure of money is stronger than the wealthy metros.
Surrogacy Procedure in India
The number of surrogacy cases in India is increasing rapidly every year, though it is still difficult to state an exact figure because it’s usually treated as a very hush-hush affair. An estimated 75 per cent of the clients are reportedly non-resident Indians (NRIs) from the UK, US, Japan, and Southeast Asia. The popularity only seems to be surging higher as many Indian well-known clinics are constantly inundated with overseas phone calls pertaining surrogacy.
There are fixed mandatory surrogacy guidelines stipulated by the country’s medical council that both parties have to follow. Both parties i.e. the parents as well as the prospective surrogate mothers are diligently monitored and counseled by the clinic. Further, they are made to sign a detailed legal contract underscoring the willingness of the surrogate mother's to deliver the baby and the financial terms agreed upon.
To ensure a hassle-free surrogacy, it is ensured that the surrogate mothers are young, healthy and married with children. In India, the intended mother or a donor supplies the egg in order to lessen the risk of the surrogate mother developing emotional feelings for the baby she will give birth to. Incase such a thing does happen, both parties are made to sign a mutual agreement to prevent a possible battle over the ownership of the newborn.
What Surrogacy Costs in India?
The surrogacy business in India is estimated to be worth around $ 500 million and growing. Apart from the strict laws pertaining surrogacy in the United States, there’s also a stark difference in the costs involved there and in India. In the US, surrogate mothers are normally paid $15,000, whereas associated agencies pocket another $30,000 from the childless couple. In India, the total expenditure may come up around $2,500 to $6,500.