Exploitation always a concern
India is becoming an economic superpower,
supported in part by its huge outsourcing industry. One sliver of this
is “reproductive outsourcing”, more commonly known as surrogacy.
According to the New York Times, IVF clinics which offer the service
have been inundated by requests from the US and Europe.
Surrogacy has been legal in India since 2002 and typically costs
US$25,000, a third of the American price. Rudy Rupak, of
PlanetHospital, a medical tourism agency in California, says that he
sent 25 couples to India last year and expects to send 100 this year.
Price is only one of the attractions: the women are better mothers, since they have fewer vices
like smoking, drinking and taking drugs.
The government is vigorously promoting India’s
medical facilities, so despite the possibility of
exploiting impoverished women, no regulation is imminent. However, even some
people involved in the surrogacy industry want more government
oversight. “There must be protection for the surrogates, says
Mr Rupak. “Inevitably, people are going to smell the money, and
unscrupulous operators will get into the game. I don’t trust
the industry to regulate itself.”
It is not just infertile couples from abroad who
are interested. The Statesman reports that women who want to keep
their figures and career women who do not want to interrupt their
work are constantly contacting IVF clinics.
interested in cut-rate reproductive outsourcing, Turkish Cyprus is
the place to go. Admittedly, India is
cheaper, but there is a language barrier and Turkish couples fear that they
will be cheated. According to the Turkish Daily News, IVF and renting
the womb of a surrogate mother cost about US$20,000. ~ Statesman (Kolkata), Mar 7; Turkish Daily News,
Mar 8; New York Times, Mar 10
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