Saturday, May 2, 2015

You want a baby? No problem. Let’s go buy one. Yes it is possible now in India. With the growing number of people getting married later in life. With women having to put off any thought of having a family because   it is so important to get a college degree to be able to get a good paying job in the future. There are more same sex couples now. People experiencing fertility issues and even just not wanting to carry your own child, there has been a demand for gestational surrogacy. But with a price tag of over $100,000 dollars,   many prospective parents are being forced to look elsewhere around the globe to find a cheaper option to have a child.

Sure there are orphanages all over the world full of abandoned children but they are not your child with your eyes or smile. Today the demand for surrogacy is so high that India actually legalized commercial surrogacy. Yes, the practice of having someone else’s baby has become a legal business. Yes, there is nothing sacred anymore. Even childbirth is a business. This makes it possible to purchase a baby over the Internet.  What does this new industry look like?  India is one of the poorest countries on earth with the most people. We are now outsourcing embryos. In Hyderabad, India the medical tourism business is now worth over $2 Billion dollars. Almost $500 Million dollars is made commercially by surrogacy. The billboards do not advertise food companies but pretty babies you can buy.

To accommodate this rapidly growing business, over 3,000 clinics have been created. One of them is the Kiran Infertility Center. There Dr. Samit Sekhar the Chief Embryologist explains the process. He says, “The surrogate mother never has a genetic link to the baby that is born. She is carrying the pregnancy. The egg will be from the genetic mother. The sperm will be from the genetic father. People like to call it a baby factory or a baby farm. Like it’s some sci-fi novel from the early 80’s where there is some mad scientist creating embryos and just churning out babies.” It sounds like this Doctor has some guilt about his work when in fact he can create as many babies as he wants too.

If the procedure is successful, 9 months later the parents arrive in India and pay for their baby and leave with it. Anand,, India is the surrogacy capitol of India. The most successful clinic in the country is Akanksha Infertility Clinic run by the Founder Dr. Nayna Patel.  Her business is growing so fast that she is in the process of building the largest fertility clinic in the world. Yes, literally a baby factory. It will completely ell mate  the need for any hospital. Americans go to places like these because the cost factor is 1/6th the price of having it done in America. Most of the births are done by C-Section so that the doctor can schedule births back to back. It is a factory after all, no time for labor or natural causes or delays. Time is money as in any assembly line. I think I want to barf now.

The turnover is about 10 minutes where the babies are whisked away to the parents. What draws the women to surrogacy? As usual money. There is no occupation for a woman for them to earn so much money in such a short time. Over the nine month period the make about $10,000. With carrying twins, $12,000. Before becoming a surrogate most young women did not have a job or income. Throughout the 9 months the women stay in dorm rooms with other surrogates. None of the women like or are proud of what they are doing but they realize that if they put their bodies through this, then they can afford a home of their own.  Dr. Ranana Kimari is the Director of Woman’s Rights at the Center for Social Research and tells us that the industry is not regulated without any kind of law. Most of the women who do this are from very poor backgrounds.  The doctors take no responsibility for any complications.  The health risks are not covered. The commercialization is based on an exploitative system.

The women leave all family for the 9 months and that is difficult for them and depression for carrying a baby they will never see is disturbing for them. Recruiters go into the slums to find women. Agents who find willing women take big commissions that the women don’t even know about. Sometimes as much as $3,000 per baby maker. Sigh! Most women can’t read the contracts they are signing and don’t even receive a copy of the contract. If she is duped or if something has gone wrong with the payment, there is no legal means to claim their fee meanwhile they will forever have the scar from the cesarean birth forever.  Yes, corruption exists. When will the United Nations address this issue?

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