By Sun Narin
The process of carrying and delivering a child for another person called surrogacy is still the concerned issue in India. At the same time of the increase in surrogacy throughout India, a number of childless families in Kolkata city are now wishing for the surrogacy. A lot of childless couples are going to do counseling with the medical professionals and trying to find the surrogate mother.
Dr. Rohit Gutgutia, Medical Director of Neotia Healthcare Initiative Limited, at Bhagirathi Neotia Woman & Child Care Centre (BNCCCW Kolkata) said that with the increasing awareness of artificial reproductive technologies, number of queries regarding surrogacy cases is also increasing day by day, adding that a lot of people from Kolkata have come to do the counseling.
He said: “In our clinic we deal with 1-2 surrogacy cases per month. There are quite a fair lot of people in Kolkata, going for surrogacy. About 8- 10 couples every month enquire regarding options of surrogacy.” However, he said that when properly counseled, they realize that there are other treatment options they were not aware of. Hence, couples medically suited for surrogacy are much less than couples enquiring for surrogacy.
He said that many couples coming in his clinic have very little knowledge of surrogacy, but some couples are there who have actual knowledge what surrogacy is, these couples after rigorous counseling and explanation of other treatment options, happily follow those alternative treatments, which are best suited for them.
“There are some couples who when counseled of surrogacy actually enters the treatment protocol, while others, after counseling, because of some social inhibitions or logistical problems, such as responsibilities of the surrogate, step back,” he said.
Some websites have become the place for the childless families residing in Kolkata to post the information of finding the surrogate mother. Having seen the other couples who are successful in finding the surrogate mother, a couple of Mrs Rinki Das (30) from Howrah district went to discuss with the doctor and then they started finding the woman who can be the surrogate mother. She posted the information of finding the surrogate mother on Internet (barrackpore.olx.in). She said that: “I cannot find surrogate mother that is why I decided to post the information on the website.”
She said in the interview that “ I have been married for eight years, but we don’t have children. I want to have the baby but I cannot because I have the health problem in bearing the baby for my husband (37).”
She has been posting it for one month and she told that so far she got only one contact from a woman, but it was not agreeable because she needed 10 lakhs, which Mrs Rinki Das is not affordable.
“I can afford only maximum of 2 lakhs for the surrogate mother,” she said, adding “I need the healthy woman with the age below 30.” However, she said that now she is finding the adapted child for the family in stead because she thought it is hard and much money spending.
Mr Ajay Shaw (38) who is residing in Kolkata, said that his wife (36) was not able to be pregnant; therefore, he decided to ask through the media for the surrogate mother last year, but so far there has been no any contact. “Now I stopped the process and I wanted the adopted child,”he said. Mr Vikram Bali, residing in Kolkata and wanting the surrogate mother said that now he stopped finding the surrogate mother and he is asking the adapted child from the Adoption Center Mother House.
Dr. Rohit Gutgutia continued that mainly, women from financially challenged families want to be surrogates for monetary compensations. There are also families who bring their own family members for surrogacy, which is strictly discouraged, he adds.
He explains the consequence for the surrogate mother that pregnancy is always a potential risk and others such as nutritional deficiencies, vitamin deficiency, iron and other deficiencies. He adds that surrogate mothers have to be healthy with maximum 1-2 children of her own.
However a number of people and the medical doctors criticize the surrogacy and saying that it is the unethical issue to get rid of.
Dr Rajib K. Haldar , the additional Director of Child In Need Institute (CINI) in West Bengal said that: “ Surrogacy is an offshoot of denial of womanhood and child rights. Society has been increasing moving towards commercialization of human body and spirit of life. By promoting surrogacy, one exploits the basic rights of woman as the pregnant mother and her right to have a child whom she leans on for life. Such most unethical transaction of sperm with money taking advantage of women in distress or families poverty is an organized crime and it must be stopped forthwith.”
He adds that there is an urgent need to sensitize the public on this grave issue of serious consequences in the country. The best alternative way is to support poor women and children is adopt a mother and sponsor her child.
One government’s official who speak to be unnamed, said that the government should ban the “unethical” surrogacy in the country since it is not good for the people, especially the surrogate mother.
However, commercial surrogacy has been legal in India since 2002. India is emerging as a leader in international surrogacy. Surrogacy in India is much more simpler and cost effective than anywhere else in the world. The surrogacy market in India is estimated to be between Rs 1,000 and 5,000 crore, considerably lower (about, a fourth of what they would cost in the United States). That has again increased the international confidence in going in for surrogacy in India. The status-conscious lower middle class is resorting to surrogacy for fulfilling its material and financial needs.
According to data compiled by the National ART (artificial reproductive techniques) Registry of India (NARI), from 50-odd cases in 2004 there has been a near 300 per cent jump to 158 cases in 2005. Gujarat alone accounts for 75 of these cases, 16 were reported from Chennai, 15 from Hyderabad, and the rest from other major cities in India.
Surrogacy need to be agreed by the parties, surrogacy arrangement should provides for financial support for surrogate child in the event of death of the commission couple or individual. A surrogacy contract should be necessarily take care of life insurance cover for surrogate mother.