India has become a mecca for couples desperate for children. So much so that surrogacy is a $2.4billion industry, producing an estimated 25,000 babies a year. Thousands of foreign couples come to India each year to ‘hire’ Indian women to bear their children.
There is no doubt that it is truly wonderful that otherwise childless couples have the opportunity to become parents through surrogacy. However, there is certainly a less joyous side to the story.
The Indian surrogates, Women’s Groups argue, are exploited in this ‘rent a womb’ industry. They are not paid well for their sacrifice, and their health is at risk. They are required to sign contracts which exempt doctors and foreign couples (clients) from liability, leaving the surrogate mother responsible for medical, financial and psychological risks.
In addition, the contracts provide that if the mother is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease late in pregnancy, she is to be ”sustained with life-support equipment to protect the foetus’ viability and ensure a healthy birth on the genetic parents’ behalf”.
Women’s groups are calling for a ban on the Indian surrogacy industry.
What do you think? Is it right to reduce babies to a commodity?