ANAND, India (AP) – Every night in this quiet western Indian city, 15 pregnant women prepare for sleep in the spacious house they share, ascending the stairs in a procession of ballooned bellies, to bedrooms that become a landscape of soft hills.
A team of maids, cooks and doctors looks after the women, whose pregnancies would be unusual anywhere else but are common here. The young mothers of Anand, a place famous for its milk, are pregnant with the children of infertile couples from around the world. The small clinic at Kaival Hospital matches infertile couples with local women, cares for the women during pregnancy and delivery, and counsels them afterward. Anand’s surrogate mothers, pioneers in the growing field of outsourced pregnancies, have given birth to roughly 40 babies.More than 50 women in this city are now pregnant with the children of couples from the United States, Taiwan, Britain and beyond. The women earn more than many would make in 15 years. But the program raises a host of uncomfortable questions that touch on morals and modern science, exploitation and globalization, and that most natural of desires: to have a family.
Dr. Nayna Patel, the woman behind Anand’s baby boom, defends her work as meaningful for everyone involved.
“There is this one woman who desperately needs a baby and cannot have her own child without the help of a surrogate. And at the other end there is this woman who badly wants to help her (own) family,” Patel said. “If this female wants to help the other one … why not allow that? … It’s not for any bad cause. They’re helping one another to have a new life in this world.”
Experts say commercial surrogacy—or what has been called “wombs for rent”—is growing in India. While no reliable numbers track such pregnancies nationwide, doctors work with surrogates in virtually every major city. The women are impregnated in-vitro with the egg and sperm of couples unable to conceive on their own.
Commercial surrogacy has been legal in India since 2002, as it is in many other countries, including the United States. But India is the leader in making it a viable industry rather than a rare fertility treatment. Experts say it could take off for the same reasons outsourcing in other industries has been successful: a wide labor pool working for relatively low rates.
Critics say the couples are exploiting poor women in India—a country with an alarmingly high maternal death rate—by hiring them at a cut- rate cost to undergo the hardship, pain and risks of labor.
“It raises the factor of baby farms in developing countries,” said Dr. John Lantos of the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City, Mo. “It comes down to questions of voluntariness and risk.”
Again, make thou own mind up
December 30, 2007, 6:24 pm at 6:24 pm
Wow. Shades of Margaret Atwood, some 20+ years ago. From the “Islamic Coup” to the class of “Breeders,” this is getting spooky.
Anyone here ever read “The Handmaid’s Tale”?
Good catch, Tiz. I might have to link to this on my blog, if that’s okay.
December 30, 2007, 6:29 pm at 6:29 pm
Why hell yes, you may Spot.
December 30, 2007, 6:36 pm at 6:36 pm
Read “the Handmaid’s Tale”. Not I Spot.
If I were to read it, it would very possibily constrict me to, coloring with in the lines. God, I hate that….:).
December 30, 2007, 6:42 pm at 6:42 pm
Can I be a bit of a pedant, too? A childhood of growing up with Plain speakers (Quaker grandparents) does that…
“Thou” is 2nd Pers. Sing Objective (familiar); the Possessive would by “Thy”, although in this case because it’s followed by a word starting with a vowel it would be Thine. And the present-tense verb used with it would have an “-est” ending.
“Makest up thine own mind.”
I think. If I haven’t been in The World too long to remember all that sh!t.
December 30, 2007, 6:49 pm at 6:49 pm
Ah, Tiz. I have two very strong-willed sisters who force-fed me all manner of Feminist literature when I was an impressionable young man.
Yeah, and a lot of good it did them anyway; here I am a NASCAR-watching bourbon-drinking blue-collar slob, wearing my blue Yakkas working in outback mines and off-shore oilfields in the middle of Woop-Woop.
December 30, 2007, 6:54 pm at 6:54 pm
Probably best that I remain silent here…
December 30, 2007, 7:19 pm at 7:19 pm
Yes my dear Ash…
I’ve had their or is it there…lol, oatmeal. Has a big fellow on the round (well can’t say BOX, I guess)…ummm, package, that looks like Benjamin Franklin.
Worked on a rig , in Nowhereville, Oklahoma (Kingfisher, actually)..until I decided on a very cold winter day, that all that heavy stuff overhead…just may have made me, shorter.
December 30, 2007, 7:23 pm at 7:23 pm
A “vowel”, eh? Gosh and here I thought that a “vowel” was an organ of the body.
Learn something new, everyday…lol.
December 30, 2007, 7:29 pm at 7:29 pm
this just leaves me speechless… ;x
December 30, 2007, 7:31 pm at 7:31 pm
Does that oatmeal give you Vowel Movements, Tiz?
December 30, 2007, 7:32 pm at 7:32 pm
Before I respond, dear Lord, is Benjamin Franklin one of the good guys?
December 30, 2007, 7:34 pm at 7:34 pm
yes, in my humble opinion, ash
December 30, 2007, 7:40 pm at 7:40 pm
Tizona, never, ever drink Indian Coca-Cola.
Not only does it taste appalling, but if you spill any, it’ll be sticky forever. I can still pick up my cat with only my thumb, and I spilt it three years ago.
December 30, 2007, 7:46 pm at 7:46 pm
William Penn maybe? Benji wasn’t a Quaker…
**North Carolina Connection (there’s always a North Carolina connection):
Pepsi was founded in North Carolina, and in 2001 Quaker and PepsiCo merged.
Being a Southern Boy I prefer Quaker Instant Grits… Red Eye Gravy and Country Ham flavour. Kinda hard to get in Western Australia, but.
December 30, 2007, 7:52 pm at 7:52 pm
Does that oatmeal give you Vowel Movements, Tiz?
Spot my friend…Are you shitting me?…Of course it does….LOL.
I really do need to see a Doctor and have antipsychotic pills, prescribed.
December 30, 2007, 7:58 pm at 7:58 pm
So when ones does…and lifts their glass, do they say Aleuts?
Eskimos, one could say Cheers inuits, place. huh?
OR do you speak of the lovely little deer type…Bombay?
December 30, 2007, 8:00 pm at 8:00 pm
Spot…then I may say…YEEEHAWWW!…and you get it…lol. I’m sittin’ in Tennesse, as I type this.
December 30, 2007, 8:05 pm at 8:05 pm
You may say whatever you like when you raise your glass Tizona, just rest assured that I ain’t touching the stuff. Never again.
December 30, 2007, 8:37 pm at 8:37 pm
Tennessee, hey? S’pose you’ve got small-batch bourbon and whatever-the-hell-proof-it-is Booker’s flowing in the cricks there! Care to email me some? And don’t forget the branch water.
Okay, my take on this is done. And yes, I remembered to hat-tip “the always-excellent Tizona”!
December 30, 2007, 8:50 pm at 8:50 pm
why hell ya spot…we’s doing fine down righcher…and y’all dont need that there hat tipping stuf…ya heruh. shoot thatd go to my head.
December 30, 2007, 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm
Spot, I read The Handmaid’s Tale a hundred years ago and found it rather dull going. Kudos to you for having read it even though you’re a bloke.
Are the feminist sisters still that way inclined? Or have they been hit with the cluebat of reality?
December 31, 2007, 12:03 am at 12:03 am
Thank you for your visit, Do come again…OH I’m NOT Spot…lol.
December 31, 2007, 1:05 am at 1:05 am
LOL No worries, Tiz or Cid, or however you prefer to be addressed.
I’m looking to get back into blogging this year after the debacle that the last 6 months has been.
You’ll quite possibly get sick of me. 🙂
December 31, 2007, 1:10 am at 1:10 am
Nevah…Evah…get sick. Either name will do..as they say here…just don’t call me late for dinner…lol.
December 31, 2007, 1:10 am at 1:10 am
You’ll quite possibly get sick of me.
About bloody time, too.
I’ll never get sick of you.
December 31, 2007, 1:15 am at 1:15 am
Yes…I hear nilk is a fine lady, kaez…LOL
December 31, 2007, 3:33 am at 3:33 am
Hmmmmmmm. Not a single line about the Indian ladies? Too much to handle?
I’m not against this, as long as it is the woman’s choice to act as a surrogate. I consider it none of my business. It’s another in a very long line of things which are none of my business. Is there room for various problems? Yes, just as there is room for just about anybody to make a problem out of anything. When there is actual harm done, then the person who caused the harm ought to be punished. But innocents, acting voluntarily, should not be punished on the basis of what might or might not happen. There’s entirely too much of that kind of thing going on today.
Do forgive me for going on topic. :~)
December 31, 2007, 5:58 am at 5:58 am
Hey Pogs and Salty. In my defense, I did start off on-topic here… then I went and did my own blog on it.
So there. ;-P
Happy New Year.
December 31, 2007, 3:47 pm at 3:47 pm
Spot the dog: Thief! Shame on you.
December 31, 2007, 3:55 pm at 3:55 pm
I’d be very careful, if i were you. You see, Salty is a mean, vicious lovely red head, with pierce a hole through you, beautiful green eyes….:).
December 31, 2007, 6:54 pm at 6:54 pm
Hey, Salt, I asked first, and then HT’ed him! I is an Ethical Plagiarist!!
Tiz, red heads scare me. Think I’ll be good now.