India: unease about surrogacy

Publié le : 28 June 2013

 In India, after Ahmadabad and Mumbai, the city of Bangalore is becoming "a major centre for surrogacy." K.R Chandrakanth, manager of the Base Fertility Center, a Bangalore clinic specialising in this practice, proudly announces that since it opened in 2007, 110 babies have been born there. But although the recourse to surrogate mothers has been legal in India since 2002 and is "theoretically governed by a code of good conduct," this "trade in wombs remains controversial in Bangalore." The Deputy Mayor of this city has accused "the manager of Base [Fertility Center] of exploiting innocent women and trampling on Indian moral values."     

The surrogacy conditions do not seem to take the surrogate mothers into consideration. With a fee amounting to €17,000, surrogacy in India is "four times cheaper than in the United States… The surrogate mother receives €3,000 euros if the pregnancy reaches term and only some of this amount if she has a miscarriage or has to abort because the foetus is malformed." During the pregnancy, the life of these women is not easy: "they remain under medical observation, shut up in a building and separated from their family who can visit them only at the weekend." K.R Chandrakanth brushes aside the ethical aspect of such practices and concentrates only on economic considerations. "It’s impossible to take the slightest risk! It’s our responsibility […]. What could we say to the couple who have spent thousands of euros?" he says. Lastly, the psychological consequences, such as the link between the surrogate mother and the child, are never taken into account. For example, it is only "on the day she gives birth that the biological parents will decide if the surrogate mother has the right or not to see the newborn infant." Yet the suffering of surrogate mothers does exist. A surrogate mother who had left her 10-year-old son in the care of his grandmother for 7 months, explains: "I will be a surrogate mother again only if I need the money. It’s hard and then there is the fear of not reaching term."

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