Wednesday, February 22, 2006 (Anand, Gujarat): Despite controversial and ethical issues, surrogacy has been gaining popularity all over the world including India. The last two years have seen many childless couples going to Gujarat from around the world in search surrogate mothers. In April, Tejalben’s youngest daughter, a resident of Anand, will deliver a baby. Its parents are an NRI couple in the UK.
In Anand, once known as Amul country, surrogate mothehood is flourishing. Tejalben’s family is a classic case. All three daughters as well as her daughter-in-law have been surrogate mothers for the last year and a half. Process cost The process brings in about Rs one lakh but that is not the only incentive for Tejalben’s family. "It brings lots of joy when I think four persons from my family have become surrogate mothers and made infertile couples happy," said Tejalben. For the last two years childless couples have begun coming to Anand from the UK, USA, Canada, South Africa as well as Bangalore and Delhi. Finding a surrogate mother in Anand is not difficult and cheaper than maintaining a surrogate overseas or in a metro. "Many patients are coming and surrogacy is a very good option for infertile couples to have children," said Dr Nayna Patel, the Director of Kaivla Hospital in Anand. Poojalben delivered a baby for an infertile couple a year ago and is now pregnant again for a UK based couple. The money – Rs two lakhs has allowed her to buy a piece of land where she and her husband, Ashish plan to build a small home.
"If a couple does not have children and they still want, it is my pleasure to become a surrogate mother," said Poojalben, which is not her real name. Protected process The process is protected for both the couple and mother by a contract. "As soon as the infertile couple gets the surrogate, we ask them to meet the surrogate and her husband to have an open discussion," said Dr Patel. "We make them sign a contract. It is initially following the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) wherein everything is mentioned, about pregnancy, delivery and also regarding the monetary aspect". One issue which complicates surrogate motherhood is the emotional bond the biological mother often develops for the baby. The contracts signed between the couple and the surrogate mother try and work around these problem areas. The couple is ensured that they get the baby and there is no communication between the families after the process is over.