Wombs for Rent in India

I offer this post on wombs for rent just in case you missed the news item about the latest job now being outsourced to India. Is surrogate motherhood the giving of love or the selling of life? Most of us remember the fiasco of Baby M and, as far as I can tell, no one has been able to remedy the legal and personal issues of a contract of such personal nature. So what’s the answer?

Let’s go to Anand, known appropriately enough as the Milk Capital of India. From Wikipedia we glean these facts about this city in Gujarat. It became famous for Amul dairy and its milk revolution, it hosts the National Dairy Development Board of India and Anand Agricultural University, and another well-known product of the city is Vallabh Vidhyanagar, an educational suburb. It may soon become even more recognized for its childbearing surrogacy program.

A small clinic in the Kaivai Hospital there matches infertile couples from the United States, Taiwan, Britain and beyond with local women who want to help their own families by earning more income by renting out their wombs. The clinic cares for the women during pregnancy and delivery, then counsels them afterwards. So far they’ve given birth to about 40 babies. More than 50 women in the city are now in surrogate pregnancies.

Imagine the implications. Not only can more infertile couples have families with the help of these poor women, the size of the women’s family stays the same during the surrogacy period, thereby trimming the size of their families. Not only can they earn money, but limit the number of children at home they have to care and provide for.

While I really am sensitive to the problems of those couples unable to have families without help, just think of the implication for others of our society as well. Movie stars and other celebrities will no longer have to interrupt their careers or ruin their pencil thin figures to bear children. It would be a very inexpensive venture for them as well, likely even less than the personal trainers they would need to hire to get back in shape if they have their children themselves.

If one poor woman in a third world country wishes to help out a couple in the West who would be unable to have a child themselves in exchange for a few extra rupees to add to the family coffers, perhaps to give their own children a better chance in the world, is there any real harm in it? Is it the giving love from one woman to another, or is it crass commercialization of life?

 Tomorrow: Remembering Tabitha through Nora the piano playing cat

3 thoughts on “Wombs for Rent in India

  1. I, your reader who has led the very wanton life, doesn’t feel I have the right to judge another’s way of living or what they do. SciFi books have written about this for years. And too, it seems another step up from being a surrogate mother.

  2. I don’t know about this. I can definitely see how this type of arrangement can benefit both parties. But sooner or later, this type of “service” could easily become yet another commodity when the rich is too “busy” and the poor are just trying to make a few bucks.

    But rather than arguing against this, I’d much prefer to see strict regulations in India (or anywhere else) for these type of agencies. So that most of the money go to the the surrogate mothers and not into all the tiers of agencies involved. Basically, minimize exploitation.

  3. I think you both have valid points. But arrangements like these that sometimes do get taken for granted get embedded in society and change the world in the long run. Wow! How interesting it would be to be able to return in, say 100 years, after dying–just to see how things have changed. Thanks to both of you for sharing your thoughts.

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