Ahmedabad: There may be a debate on the legality of surrogacy but for poor women in Gujarat's Anand district, renting a womb to deliver a child seems to be the only to survive and support their family.
In Gujarat, women from such income groups earn up to Rs 3 lakh to Rs 4.5 lakh by renting a womb to deliver a child to a foreign couple.
“Becoming a surrogate mother is an opportunity for all of us to support our family. In these times of high inflation, if we can be a reason for a safe future for our children and family, what could be the objection?” asked surrogate mothers.
According to figures given by the Confederation of Indian Industry, surrogacy is a $2.3 billion industry in the country.
Anand is considered to be the country’s surrogacy capital.
These days, surrogate mothers in Anand are up in arms over a DGHS proposal to restrict the option of surrogacy to couples of Indian origin only.
The proposal of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) restricts surrogacy for childless foreign couples, which, according to an estimate, contributes to nearly 40 percent of the total surrogacy market in India.
Around 70 women of Anand, who wish to become surrogate mothers, have written to the DGHS questioning its move to bar foreign couples from coming to India for children and restricting the upper-age limit of a woman, willing to rent her womb.
In an emotional three-page letter, they claimed that if implemented, the proposal would have a cascading effect on women from the lower middle class, who choose to become surrogate mothers to support their families.
The letter will be sent to the Government of India, said Nayna Patel, IVF expert and pioneer in surrogacy in India.
“When a 35-year-old (or more) woman is chosen as surrogate mother, a thorough medical check up is conducted. And, if reports are normal, only then Dr Patel gives the nod. If a poor woman in good health becomes a surrogate mother, what problem does the government have?” said the letter, questioning the proposal to put a cap on the upper-age limit.
Patel said surrogate mothers, who help foreign couples coming to Anand get a bundle of joy in their life, are pampered in most cases.
“Apart from contract money, they (surrogate mothers) are given additional financial help and other gifts as token of love. It is not that surrogate mothers are not given benefit or something,” she said.