Many of the women in her study were bearing babies for couples in the United States and Britain. The report said some couples used Skype to periodically view the surrogate mother’s belly, and thus monitor the progress of the pregnancy. American couples would pay five or six times as much for a surrogate pregnancy in their own country as they do in India, according to doctors and industry officials here.
The new survey, done by the women’s advocacy group Center for Social Research, saidthere is “no fixed rule” for payments to surrogate mothers, which are “arbitrarily decided by the clinics.” The women, the report said, are kept in special, guarded facilities and allowed limited social interaction during pregnancy. The rights of women who miscarry are not secured, it said.
Doctors, activists and agents say the surrogacy boom began with infertile Indian-origin couples in countries such as the United States, Britain and the United Arab Emirates seeking out women in India to bear their children. At least half of the clients still belong to that group, Mishra told a news conference.
In most cases, the clients’ sperm and egg are implanted in the surrogate’s womb, with DNA tests done after the birth to prove the genetic links to the couple and ease the issuing of a foreign passport.
Doctors say the practice is growing among Indians, too. Earlier this month, one of Bollywood’s biggest stars, Shahrukh Khan, announced that his newborn child had been carried by a surrogate, bringing social respectability and even some trendiness to the practice. But the cost is still prohibitive in a country where a majority live on less than $2 a day.
Many in the business defend it as helping both infertile couples and low-income Indian women. Promotors say the surrogacy agreements mandate that the women stay in special shelters during their pregnancies because the facilities are cleaner than their impoverished neighborhoods and the women’s health and nutrition can be monitored.
“ Let us not forget that there are two women involved in this process,” said Hrishikesh Rai, a gynecologist and the president-elect of the Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction in Mumbai. “It is not an easy or casual decision for the infertile couple either. Surrogacy is the last extreme and a very difficult decision for couples. ”
“The surrogate mothers come from very poor families, but they gain money and also self-confidence,” said Jagatjeet Singh, director of Wyzax Surrogacy Consultants in New Delhi. “They have a bank account in their names, health insurance card; they are exposed to clean, hygienic living during this period. Their aspirations for their own children begin to take shape.”
Singh added that women wanting to be surrogates come to his agency saying, ‘Please enroll me, please enroll me.’
“We do not even need to persuade them much now,” he said.
Kapoor said she heard about surrogacy from a neighbor who volunteered at the agency. Kapoor normally earns $54 a month gluing glitter on T-shirts, while her husband, who sorts and sells garbage, brings home about $85 a month.
She said she persuaded her husband to go along with the surrogate pregnancy, but did not tell her parents. She left her home for nine months to live in the surrogate shelter with her 4-year-old daughter. Her husband visited her occasionally.
Last month, when the American couple met with Kapoor to take the twins, there was not much conversation. “They kept saying, ‘Thank you, thank you,’ the whole time,” she recalled.
In the survey, there was a question about whether the surrogate mothers experience any doubt or difficulty about handing over the baby to the commissioning parents. A majority chose not to reply.
The Washington Post