Surrogacy Tourism

In India tourism means anything but enjoying the sights and sounds that the place has to offer. After Medical Tourism and Death Tourism, the latest reason for people to come to India is surrogacy. In marriages where the woman is not able to bear a child, being infertile or her uterine wall being hostile, the egg from the woman and the sperm from the man are taken and fertilized externally. This fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus of a fertile woman, where the child grows for nine months like a natural baby and the parents take their child. There is no genetic relation between the Surrogate mother and the parents. Scientifically there are no issues. Technically, there is no problem since in India there are a lot of women that are ready to be surrogate mothers, at times for the monetary assistance, at times for the medical help.

Off late we are seeing an increasing trend for foreign couples bring their embryo and have it implanted in a woman in India and come back after nine months and collect their child. This is where the problem arises or the debate lies. Hitherto, couples only choose the option of surrogacy when they do not have the option of childbearing, but as the trend increases, there is a high probability that we will see a price tag attached by surrogate mothers and producing children will be nothing more than a service, very similar to outsourcing. In such a scenario, even women that are medically capable of bearing a child might prefer to use the service of a surrogate mother if the couple can afford it.

It is scientifically proven and generally known that there is a very strong bond forged between mother and child during the nine months of pregnancy. Apart from that there are a large number of legal issues that may arise along with such a trend. For example, the recent case of a divorce during the period of pregnancy or the couple changes their mind. These situations are bound to crop up more in cases of surrogate pregnancy than in ordinary child birth and in such cases the surrogate mother is at a loss because it is much easier for the natural parents to abort the child than it is for the surrogate mother.

In India today there is no law that governs such a practice, in my opinion we not only need laws to govern the practice in terms of parents of foreign origin but even cases where the parents are also Indian. I also believe that medical grounds should be the only grounds on which surrogacy should be permitted. At the whim or fancy of a rich couple a woman must not be made to go through a period of pregnancy only to go through a torturous abortion because the natural parents decided that they did not want a child that year. In cases where the couple has tried everything else and surrogacy is a last option it must be allowed since in that case at least the child and the surrogate mother will not suffer.

Kanishk Kakkar


[Image courtesy:]