For couples from US, UK or Canada, fed up by the heartaches and disappointments associated with their inability to conceive and let down by the legal and financial issues involving surrogacy in their native countries, surrogacy in India is fast emerging as a lucrative option.
India with its sympathetic legal view on the issue of surrogacy and low cost of living has become a hub for intended parents to find affordable solutions to their problems. Sophisticated infrastructure, coupled with highly qualified physicians and personalized medical care is causing people all over the world to scout for surrogate mothers in India.
According to the CDC (Centre for Disease Control and prevention) the total number of women between the ages of 15-44 years, unable to bear children in the US alone was 7.3 million, which is where India, with its large number of surrogate agencies comes into play.
What is Surrogacy?
The term surrogacy originates from the Latin word ‘surrogatus’ which means ‘to act in place of’. It refers to the procedure by which a woman bears the child for someone else.
Surrogates in India help people from all over the world to enrich their lives further by giving them this gift of life. It can be achieved by:
- Egg donation
- Gestational Surrogacy
- Embryo adoption
- Donor Insemination
Surrogacy Laws in India
Commercial Surrogacy, illegal in many countries of Europe like France and Italy, was made legal by the Supreme Court of India in 2002. Following this, surrogate motherhood in India is fast growing into a billion dollar industry.
A few important points in the Indian Council of Medical Research Guidelines on surrogates in India are as follows:
- Legal contract between the surrogate mother and intended parents.
- Monetary compensation for the surrogate mother apart from settlement of all pregnancy related medical bills.
- Forfeit of all parental rights on the child by the surrogate mother.
- Surrogate mothers must be between 20-40 years of age and physically & mentally fit.
- An agreement as per these guidelines, along with the certificate of the ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) clinic must be notarized and registered.
Is Surrogacy Right for You?
An article by the BBC News Network claimed that in the forthcoming years infertility in UK may rise up to 33%. At present approximately 50,000 babies are conceived using ART in the US.
Finding a surrogate mother in India could be a complex decision, and one must consider various factors before taking any step.
IVF Surrogacy – It is advised to women with functional ovaries producing eggs where the uterus is unfit to bear the child. The following conditions call for IVF surrogacy:
- Congenitally absent uterus.
- Patients who have undergone hysterectomy.
- Malformed or damaged uterus.
- Patients suffering from medical problems like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases.
- Patients who have had repeated miscarriages.
- Women with non functional ovaries.
- Same sex homosexual men wanting to have a child together.
India as a leading Surrogate Centre
- Medical procedures in India are estimated to be 30-40% cheaper than in the West.
- Surrogate mothers in India are relatively easy to find, and the cost of the procedure, including the total expenditure on travel, accommodation and medical bills for the entire period amount to approximately 1/3rd of the value in US, UK or Canada.
- The laws of the country regarding surrogacy are liberal and relaxed, encouraging a fair legal agreement between both the parties.
- The surrogacy clinics in India are equipped with cutting edge technology and all amenities to make the entire procedure as comfortable as possible.
- These medical centers are affiliated to leading medical boards and organizations and adhere to stringent hygiene protocols.
- The doctors and physicians in India are a dedicated, highly skilled group with many of them having global experience.
- English as the medium of communication ensures that there is complete understanding between both the parties and that the entire period passes as smoothly as possible.
- India, with its reduced cost of surrogate mothers provides world class service without compromising on the quality of care administered.
Problems associated with Surrogacy in India
The ‘reproductive tourism’ industry in India has grown to a net value of $500 million according to an article in MSN news.
Thousands of surrogacy success stories are reported every month; there may however be some problems associated with surrogate motherhood in India:
- Ethnic factors.
- Pregnancy is fraught with risks at all stages and puts a huge mental and physical strain on the surrogate mother.
- The surrogacy laws of western countries may not be compatible with those in India.
- Negligence of the health of the mother and child by the fertility clinics, can lead to the complete wastage of the entire procedure.
Surrogate Mother Agencies in India
There are a number of organizations in India which smoothen out all the hurdles in this process right from how to find a surrogate mother in India to arrangements for travel, accommodation and medical care for the surrogate mother and child.
A simplified version of the procedure is explained below:
- After the infertile couple has got in touch with the fertility centers, based on their requirements, a search for the surrogate mother or egg donor is carried out.
- Only surrogates who successfully clear the stringent medical checkup and are in perfect physical and mental health are considered in the program.
- A legal contract between the surrogate and the intended parents is then drawn up and signed by both the parties.
- Depending on the type of surrogacy- traditional or IVF, the surrogate is put on hormones to regulate her menstrual cycle and then impregnated with the child.
- During the 9 months the surrogate is carrying the child, all steps are taken to ensure that mother and child remain as healthy as possible. Regular checkups, tests and a balanced diet rich in nutrients are provided to the mother.
- The couple is kept posted on the growth of the child and ultrasound photographs are sent at different stages of growth.
Things to do in India
- India is an exotic holiday destination where healthcare can be mixed with pleasure in the form of medical vacations.
- Medical tourists in India can enjoy the rich culture of this ancient civilization, be mesmerized by its historical landmarks and experience the beauty of mountains, beaches and cities of this wonderful nation.
- Surrogates in India help couples fulfill their dream of having a child and benefit from the healthy gene pool of the country. They also reap the benefits of the warm hospitality and ambience of the locals.
- Ayurveda, yogic asanas, therapeutic massages, meditation all leave the tourists feeling rejuvenated and revitalized.
- The Taj Mahal in Agra, Golden Temple in Amritsar, Qutub Minar in Delhi and the forts in Jaipur are some of the main attractions in the country.
Tips for Surrogate Couples in India
- Couples must get in touch with reliable surrogate mother centers in India to make the entire process as smooth as possible.
- A suitable surrogate mother in India must be located prior to arrival in the country.
- Legal contracts must be properly drawn up and valid in the court of law.
- Couples seeking surrogacy in India.
Parents unable to conceive by conventional means are increasingly opting out for third party parenting or surrogates in India, a broad term which includes egg donation, gestational surrogacy and embryo adoption. Economic grounds, sympathetic bureaucracy and world class doctors with high success rates have all contributed to making India the leading surrogate center in the world.
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