In India, there is a new IT industry: the new Infant Trading. After the adults, it is now the babies turn to be outsourced. Reproductive Outsourcing is catching on. The industry is valued at more than $450 millions, and the number of cases of surrogacy has doubled over the past three years. Commercial surrogacy has been legal in India since 2002. India is emerging as a leader making it into what can be called a viable industry rather than a rare fertility treatment. It has gained popularity for same reasons as outsourcing in other industries: a wide labor pool working for relatively low rates. In India womb is the new Web.
It is interesting to note that people worldwide use poverty in India to validate reproductive outsourcing. Surrogate mothers in India, where maternal death rates are very high, under commercial surrogacy programs are usually cared for with amongst the best highly advanced medical, nutritional, and overall care available in the field anywhere in the world.
The total cost including the medical procedures, payment to the clinic providing the surrogate mother, and air tickets and hotel expenses for two trips to India, is less than $25,000. This is not even one third of what it would cost say in the United States. The fertility treatment and surrogacy that cost upwards of $80,000 in the United States can be done in India for about $12,000 or less. The couple looking to have a baby go to India for in-vitro fertilization and then again to pick up the baby. These clinics provide complete one-stop service to these couples which include updating them of the progress of the pregnancy by sending them reports and ultrasounds through emails and chat forums. Other reasons why India is an attraction as compared to other developing countries is the availability of advanced health care facilities and doctors who speak English. Surrogates, who must be younger than 45 and must have at least one living child, are required to stay in a dormitory attached to the clinic for the nine months of their pregnancy. This is one of internet ads of a Hospital in India advertising their package deal.
Oprah Winfrey did a show ‘Renting Wombs in India‘ in October 2007 where she endorsed the concept.
There is a default legal assumption in most countries that the woman giving birth to a child is that child’s legal mother. In some jurisdictions the possibility of surrogacy has been allowed, and the intended parents may be recognized as the legal parents from birth. Many states now issue pre-birth orders through the courts placing the names of the intended parents on the birth certificate from the start. In others, the possibility of surrogacy is either not recognized (all contracts specifying different legal parents are void), or is prohibited, and will be considered as a criminal offense.
“The human body is not lent out, is not rented out, is not sold,” France’s highest court held when it outlawed commercial surrogacy in the early nineties.
The clinics in India feel that this vital service they are providing is a ‘win-win’ situation for both the parties, ” we are facilitating each one of them to achieve what none of them could achieve on their own.”
In United States or other western countries, one rarely hears about poor citizens acting as surrogates for financial reasons. More often than not, a family member or friend will volunteer to be a surrogate for a couple who are otherwise not able to conceive.
Having a child is deep emotional experience. Would these Indian women be willing to give away their babies if it was not for money? However, the fertility specialists running this industry argue, “Many surrogate mothers see this not as ‘handing over’ the baby, but as ‘handing back’ the baby, as the baby was never theirs to keep.”
Trans-ethnic surrogacy will bring countries closer. However, it is unethical for rich from the developed countries to exploit under privileged women from developing nations.