Few years back I had read the article “Rent a womb” (perhaps in “India Today” don’t remember exactly which magazine). I came to know about the word “Surrogacy” for the first time then. After reading that article, I was under impression that it is too complicated a process and won’t get social acceptance (at least in India). But I was proved wrong. Today the service of “renting a womb” has become a full blown business for seller and a matter of convenience or style statement of sort for buyer.
Current edition of “India Today” magazine carries interesting article titled as “Baby Factory” on surrogacy and surrogate mothers. The article talks about “The sat Kaival Hospital & Akanksha Fertility Clinic” located in Anand, Gujarat. As per the article this clinic alone has produced (word “produced” will be bit rude but apt) 500 surrogate babies so far and per month they produce around 30 surrogate babies. After reading the article, I can’t stop thinking like whether surrogacy is boon or bane? Here are my thoughts :
Why Surrogacy is boon?
Worldwide there are many unfortunate couples who because of their physical disabilities are not in position to give birth to their own babies by themselves despite of their reproductive systems being healthy. For such couples there is no alternate except surrogacy to have the baby to whom they can call their own. With advancement of medical science such couples have the option and ray of hope. So surrogacy is boon for them.
Why Surrogacy is bane?
Surrogacy is very complicated process from legal and personal prospective. The lady who rents her womb for surrogacy has to go through a lot (both physically and mentally) throughout the process. Getting the social and family acceptance for renting a womb won’t be an easy thing in Indian cultural context.
Also, in Indian context, lady who will agree to rent her womb will not be doing it mostly by choice but by force. Her circumstances will force her into surrogacy mostly. In most of the cases, it will be amount to exploitation of the woman who is in dire need of money for survival.
The mental stigma associated with keeping baby in womb for nine months and give the baby away the moment he/she born is quiet emotional and mentally draining for any woman. So emotions kill here.
Apart from this the major problem could be if any complications occur during pregnancy or if pregnancy turns out to be lethal for woman/baby or due to any circumstance if new born baby is not healthy then how to handle such situation? Main question is, Is there any law (and most importantly its implementation) in our country to protect the surrogate mother and new born baby?
Is there any way to decide legitimacy of couples who can go for surrogate baby? Is the option of having surrogate baby should be available to all the couples (including same sex couples) as a matter of their personal choice?
Over a period of time what will be the social repercussions of such option being used freely by couples? In today’s world “Outsourcing” is buzz word. People now believe in (or prefer to) outsourcing by spending money rather than “Do it yourself”. In today’s cut throat competitive world where women have lot of aspiration for her career (and also sort of figure conscious) why they will waste 6-12 months of time just on the process of delivering the baby when they can outsource it? Outsourcing the baby production will be done through surrogacy while upbringing of the baby will be outsourced to maids and child care centres.
Also, when baby grows up and find out that his/her parents has outsourced his/her birth just for their own convenience, will it not cause a mental stigma for baby?
So all n all to me, it looks like surrogacy is more like bane then boon. Advancement in medical science has given this wonderful option to couples but use of this option should be measured and on need basis only rather then using it for convenience.
In India, bollywood bigwigs Aamir Khan and Shahrukh khan have started the trend by choosing the options of having surrogate babies. As far as I understand, in both the cases, it was just convenience rather than any physical disabilities which drove them to opt for surrogate baby. I’m afraid people who follow these khans as their role models will also start choosing surrogacy option as a matter of convenience and style statement.
At last in my personal opinion, I would like to say journey of parenthood is worth enjoying. Treat your babies has human rather than shopping material.
For those interested, full article of India today put up below in form of images :