Commercial surrogacy is illegal in Briton, many Britons are paying Indians to become surrogate mothers for them. This growing trend in India not only disregards the social systems in the country but also raises many ethical questions.
The birth to surrogate mothers in India last year is likely to be 2,000. Experts agree that the prime single source of majority of these births is from Britons. There are almost 1,000 unregulated clinics in India in which most of them are specialized to help Britons become parents.
Indian surrogate industry has been utilized widely by Britons who don’t wish to bear and deliver children. Only around 100 births are recorded in Briton while almost 1000 births through surrogate mothers in India account for Briton.
The investigation conducted by The Sunday Telegraph brings out this rapidly growing business. The report says that almost £25,000 at a time have been spent by Couples and single people to have children. Authorities in India believe that the surrogate mother industry in India is worth about £1.5 billion each year.
The industry has to be regulated soon. As doctors responded to The Sunday Telegraph said that the present trend raises fears of a “wombs to rent” culture since many British women prefer to have babies through surrogates to avoid being pregnant and childbirth.According to British doctors, women in India are being paid up to £6,000 to donate eggs and carry babies. This business have helped many including bankers, senior civil servants, executives at multinational companies and even NHS doctors to become parents through surrogacy in India.
“Nobody in India actually knows for sure how many babies are born through these commercial enterprises and how many places are involved,” said Dr Radhey Sharma, who was commissioned by the Indian government to study the boom in fertility treatments in preparation for legislation to regulate the industry.
He said while disclosing his findings, “I have the database of some 600 IVF clinics in India, but that is not a complete list. There could be around 400 more clinics operating without any regulation.”
The growth of this “baby factory” phenomenon has now become a concern for the government. The committee chaired by Dr Sharma has given suggestions for the industry standard for the first time which includes a regime of inspections and sanctions for those which fail them. The legislation has yet to be considered by India’s parliament and it may take some more years before it become a law.
However if the suggestions are approved, parents in Britain who look for treatments would either be unable to have for legal reasons, or would face lengthy waits on the NHS to obtain.
In the opinion of Dr Shivani Gour, the director of Surrogacy Centre India, “Gay people are just so keen and so desperate to have a family,” she said. “Many of the people say that as soon as they realised they were gay, the saddest thing was that they knew they would never have children.”
“I would say to those people who call what we do immoral, that I feel very sorry for you, god bless you, but you are ignorant, “she added.
The Parents from Briton have to face long waits in India to attain citizenship and passports for their babies. Presently British authorities can take almost a month to grant British citizenship to the children and weeks more to issue passports.
If the proposed regulations for the industry become effective in India this would bring a check to British people from becoming parents through surrogacy. The regulations would make it compulsory for babies to have instant citizenship of their parents’ home countries as soon as they are born.