People have been selling their organs and blood for money for a long time now. Poverty makes people do dire things. There have been news of people selling their children because they were too poor to support them! Another trend has picked up is that of surrogate mothers. Mothers from poor backgrounds, especially India have taken to what is being called, ‘renting out’ their wombs.
Image from: india-forums.com
There are a lot of Indian couples that benefit from fertility clinics around India. For those who cannot conceive, there are surrogate mothers for hire. One of India’s A-list actors Aamir Khan and his wife Kiran Rao are one of the prominent people to have had babies via surrogacy. But not everyone in India can afford to bear the costs of availing this facility. However, people from the rest of the world, especially the western world have no such problems. The cost of surrogacy is about $14,000 in India, where as the same procedure in USA would cost around $70,000. That is enough of a reason to make India into a haven for childless couples.
On the other hand, most of the surrogate mothers are from the most poor of backgrounds. For them, the benefits of having someone else’s baby may mean an earning equal to what they may earn in about a decade. It also means a roof over their heads, meal on their tables and an education for their children.
However, they also face risks to their health and even lose their lives.
Since 2002, when the practice was legalized, India has come to be renowned for yet another factor, i.e., "surrogacy tourism".
Estimates show more than 25,000 children are now being born through surrogates in India every year in an industry worth $2bn. Not so surprisingly, foreigners commission most of these babies.
Image from: Whattoexpect.com by ajjhelen407.
Surrogate mothers are not aware of their rights. The money that they get can often make them over look risks to themselves. They sign contracts agreeing in case of injury or any other risk to life, during the later stages of pregnancy, they will be "sustained with life-support equipment" to protect the fetus.
There have also been cases where these women were forced by their families to be surrogate mothers for the money. There hasn’t been much done in this regard even though the government is aware of this.
Already malpractices, such as implantation of more than four embryos in the surrogate’s womb are commonplace. Often women undergo caesareans so the time of birth suits the commissioning parents.
Having a baby is a serious matter and having another person’s baby takes it to another level. Yes, they get paid for it but the health and emotional risks are staggering. The prospect of having a home and providing an education for their children and a bright future for them makes women have babies after babies, endangering their health. The fact that carrying a baby in their womb for nine months creates an attachment between a mother and a child is an understatement; and going through it again and again can only put a woman through an emotional upheaval that she should not have to go through. Especially if she is made to do it against her wishes or is propelled by her unfortunate circumstances.
What else will poverty make people do? Yes, it puts food on their table and ensures a brighter future for their children or even dowries for them, but at what price? Is it right?
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