While the number is still a handful, and hence not a worrisome social change, infertility experts feel the day is not far when more working couples go for surrogacy to avoid a break in their careers.
Take the case of Anitha and Anil (names changed) who went for surrogacy. They now have an 18-month-old daughter. Although Anitha was capable of bearing a child, her 30-year-old businessman husband felt they could not afford to take a break from their careers. “We have a home loan and a vehicle loan to repay. We also have aged parents to take care of. The surrogacy procedure was expensive, but at least, my wife can concentrate on her career,” says Anil.
Had Anita, who manages a software company, chosen to their own child, says Anil, she would have had to quit her job, and repaying loans would have been difficult considering there are always ups and downs in business.
Of their own
However, Anil and his 28-year-old wife are open to having a child of their own in future. Dr Ramesh of Dr Ramesh Hospital said that in the last one-and-a-half years, he had come across several fertile couples from abroad and in India wanting to have a child through surrogacy.
“We usually try and persuade such couples not to go for surrogacy, as they are capable of having their own child.
But when they insist, we cannot do anything. Things have now changed in our society too. One cannot say whether this is right or wrong,” he says.
Bangalore Assisted Conception Centre had also received two such queries a few months ago.
However, many doctors felt surrogacy was not something to be encouraged. “We have had queries from couples in the US, England and India, too. But I don’t want to take responsibility since a lot of legal and monetary issues are involved,” said Dr Sulochana Gunasheela of Gunasheela IVF Centre.
Women having medical problems in conceiving are looking at India with great hope. With a surrogacy procedure in India costing five times less than in the Western countries, many foreign couples and Indians as well are going for it.
Dr Ramesh says awareness and acceptance of surrogacy among Indian couples has increased in the last five years. A change observed even by Shrusti Charitable Trust, which provides and looks after women offering to become surrogates.
Chandrakant, the Trust’s general manager, said that from about 10 surrogate requirements in 2003, they were conducting 25 surrogacy programmes in 2010. While 15 surrogates were carrying for foreign couples, the rest were for Indians.
“The requirements from Indian couples are also increasing but the demand is more from the US and the UK,” he said.
Women who agree to become surrogates often see it as a solution to their financial problems. It’s a win-win solution. For 26-year-old Prema (name changed), a housewife and mother of three boys, surrogacy is a way to educate her children. “We are not financially well off. I want my children to study in an English medium school at least till SSLC,” she says.
Currently, Prema is seven months’ pregnant. The foreign couple for whom she is carrying, have already visited her four times, and promised to pay her Rs 2 lakh after their child’s delivery.
That is besides the Rs 3,000 maintenance she has been receiving every month during pregnancy.
(Published in Deccan Herald on 9th April, 2011)