In a land where life is cheap, renting a womb is an easy task for foreigners• BY:- FRANCIS ELLIOTT, DELHI
• From:The Times
• April 11, 2012 12:00A
A Spanish gay couple in New Delhi with their new twins born to a surrogate mother. Picture: AFP Source: AFP
Research by the Delhi-based Centre for Social Research suggests high percentages of surrogate mothers are shunned by their families when they return. A survey carried out in Gujarat, traditionally the centre of the surrogacy trade, found fewer than 3 per cent had a copy of their contract. Although three-quarters say they want the cash to educate their own children, researchers found cases of coercion. "We came across women who told us the decision to become surrogates was not their own. They had to agree because their husbands wanted them to. The smile was missing from the faces of the women I met at the shelter homes," Manasi Mishra, the lead author of a report on the trade, said.
In an upmarket part of Delhi, Shivani Sachdev Gaur, the director of Surrogacy Centre of India, says she has never been busier. "I have 126 pregnancies right now. In April, couples from eight different countries will come here, from Ecuador to the UK. We get 300 inquiries a month - I see the acceptance going up.
"Today, for example, a court in Argentina has ruled that a single gay man who is a client of ours can be registered as the child's father."
Dr Gaur says India enjoys an advantage over other countries not just because of the cost, but also due to the lifestyle of the women. "Drug abuse, smoking and drinking alcohol among women is very rare."
She insists her clinic is careful to weed out would-be surrogates who might be coerced and that all recruits are put through stringent psychological as well as medical assessments.
On the whole, the parents make no stipulations about the woman who carries the baby. The exception is that some Hindu and Muslim clients ask for surrogates of their own religion. Most want to meet the woman who carried their child, if only fleetingly, after the babies are born - almost always by caesarean section.
"There's less risk to the babies that way and the intended parents can make sure they are there," Mr Singh said.