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Commercial Surrogacy Is Booming In India
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Story By: Larry Stine

 

 

 
 
 
   
   
  Originally Published on: 11/10/2013

A remote corner of India has earned a reputation as the surrogacy capital of the world. Infertile couples , and the women who give birth to their children, say it's a win-win. But as CNN's Malika Kapur explains, critics complain about exploitation. It's a long wait, nine months spent chatting, cooking, sewing, nuturing their swollen bellies. "Just like you give a room out to rent, I give my womb on rent," says Manjula. Surrogacy in India is booming, thanks to the low cost of the procedure, availability of surrogates and skilled doctors. "India is one of the few countries in the world that allows commercial surrogacy," says CNN's Malika Kapur. "In this hostel, 50 surrogates live together. Each one will receive aroiund $8,000 for carrying a baby." These women live under the same roof, for the entire pregnancy. All, under Dr. Nayana Patel's care. She says she's delivered 700 surrogate babies in the last 10 years, two-thirds, to couples from other countries. "It was only in 2003 I decided to do surrogacy when it was a grandmother carrying the twins of her daughter," says Dr. Patel of the Akanksga Infertility Clinic. "And looking at it, we found, yes, this is a very good arrangement. And we started with commercial surrogacy because not everyone is lucky to have a mother or a sister or a friend carry their child." Critics call surrogacy clinics baby-making factories. "If someone really has to opt for the child, somebody's friend should offer a womb, somebody's relative should offer the womb," says Ranjana Kumari of the Center for Social Research. "Why it has to be the poor woman? It's like organ sale, you know?" Madhu Makwan, who delivered a baby for a foreign couple two weeks ago, says she's never felt exploited. She says she became a surrogate because she wanted to buy a house. India is now taking 'baby steps' to regulate the industry. It's banned foreign same-sex couples and also singles from surrogacy, and it's proposing surrogate mothers should be aged between 21 and 35. New laws could also tighten visa controls. It won't affect the Koss's, a California couple who say they chose India because it cost a third of what it would in the U.S. But, it's not just a business transaction. "All I want os the baby, yeah," says Michelle Koss, a commissioning parent. The new laws could bring down the number of surrogate cases, something which could affect more than just the commissioning parents. Neeta Makwan has been a surrogate twice, allowing her to build a new home, and a better life for her family. "Whatever hopes we had, they have been fulfilled," says Kiran Makwan, Neeta Makwan's husband. "We have a roof over our heads." Many surrogates say they feel good about helping others. Madhu Makwan asks me to translate this letter she received from the couple she carried a baby for.
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