Surrogacy Industry of India!

Death to a Life Giver

Sample this: An industry worth $500 million in 2002 stands as a $2.3 billion industry in 2012. An industry serving its clients with only 350 odd centers in 2012 has grown and crossed the mark of 1000 plus centers. And in spite of this impressive trend, this particular industry still remains highly unorganized and unregulated, and its growth has actually6 led us towards serious social issues. Welcome to the surrogacy industry of India!

Surrogacy generally refers to the carrying and delivering of another couple’s child by a woman. It’s a solution for couples where the female partner is not able to carry the child for whatever reason. India has become one of the most preferred fertility tourism destination across the globe, and has become a ‘baby factory’ of sorts with respect to IVF and surrogate births due to long waiting times in other developed nations owing to various reasons, including shortage of eggs and sperms, lack of donor anonymity, over regulation, high costs and poor experiences of treatment.

Surrogacy has not enjoyed legal sanction in a number of countries. Several developed countries such as Japan, France, Italy and UK have even banned or restricted, in one form or the other, commercial surrogacy, where the carrying woman gets paid for being the surrogate mother. Surrogacy is illegal in several states in America too. The legal issues coupled with the high prices of commercial surrogacy have made it quite expensive (with rates as high as $30,000) around the world, while Indian clinics, which are often running without government regulation (which helps them to also avoid heavy taxation) offer their services for one tenth of costs internationally.

A decade back, the Indian government’s earnest efforts to promote medical tourism provided an unprecedented boost to surrogacy. Ironically, India made commercial surrogacy legal back then, but there are no laws yet that protect the rights of surrogate mothers. The recent death of surrogate Premila Vaghela, who was eight months pregnant, has brought to light the paucities in the guidelines governing the industry in India. 

Not surprisingly, the growth has also led to exploitation of many poor women who were willing to lend their wombs to feed their families. The Indian Council for medical research (ICMR) has tried to regulate commercial surrogacy since 2005, but guidelines issued by ICMR are not legally binding and are ambiguous on various issues like the surrogate’s rights, issues of informed consent and adoption requirements. The Assisted Reproductive Technologies Regulation Bill 2010, which is an updated and improved version of the ICMR guidelines, is still pending with the government and has not yet been even presented to the Parliament.

India is already notorious for high maternal death rates. A survey conducted by Center for Health Education, Training & Nutrition Awareness (CHETNA) revealed that one child-bearing mother dies every eight minutes in India on an average. With the increasing prevalence of surrogacy, there is no gainsaying the fact that the government should immediately step into this industry to ensure that malpractices and intransigent situations for the surrogate mothers are avoided completely.

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Posted : The YoubulkSmart Team! - Wed, Jul 18, 2012 9:33 AM. This article has been viewed 52881 times.
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