The ABC video report has also been posted on YouTube.
This is another good YouTube report: Rent-a-womb: Outsourcing Surrogacy in India
Promotional videos aren`t hard to find either. This three part series is an infomercial: "India Surrogacy | Part 1 of 3 - Testimonial Account of Surrogacy in India".
The ABC report was done in India at a baby factory called Kiran Clinic. The promotional pictures on the clinic website are much cleaner and more orderly appearing than scenes shown on ABC. The video showed a room full of small beds that reminded me of a dairy farm, but perhaps that reflects my bias because I`m so used to the standard of living in the U.S. The ABC story features two couples, one heterosexual and one gay couple—both of whom paid for babies at Kiran. Both stories are cheerful and have happy endings.
India is the leader in outsourced baby making but they aren`t the only country that is in the business. Click this link to see a website of one in the Ukraine.
Outsourced surrogacy was legalized in India in 2002. In 2008 the industry was standardized with government regulations. The Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation of 2008 [click here for 135 page document or here for an analysis] legalized commercial surrogacy by allowing surrogate mothers to receive monetary compensation for producing babies. One of the reasons India is a popular choice is because the surrogate mother has no right to keep the baby after it is born—as soon as the baby pops out of the womb it is the property of the paying customers. The U.S. in contrast gives surrogate mothers the right to claim the baby—which can cause legal and emotional problems for paying customers. The following quote is easier to understand than the Indian legal document:
In India, laws on surrogacy are non-existent. So doctors like Dr. Patel have turned surrogacy into a full fledged business. The surrogate mothers are herded together like cattle into a few rooms. For the surrogate mothers, the money paid by foreign couples seems like a fortune. For the couples such a similar service in their own country would cost a fortune, probably beyond their reach. Anand`s `Surrogacy factory` generates only exploitation!, Balbhadra Rana, IndiaDaily.com, Dec 10 2007ABC did an earlier story that has more detail. "Calls to debate `fertility outsourcing`", December 11, 2009 by Anna Salleh. India is the country of choice for surrogacy for much the same reason it is dominating the call center business — it`s cheaper. The price structure has similarities to high tech outsourcing — engineers are about 1/10th the cost in India, and so is the cost of hiring an Indian woman to have your baby.
Australian sociologist Associate Professor Catherine Waldby of the University of Sydney told a recent conference in Brisbane that India was undercutting the US as a preferred source of surrogate mothers for couples from developed countries.There is another hidden advantage to this type of surrogacy—parents don`t have to mix their genes with those of the Indian mother.
She says the Indian government is encouraging this "fertility outsourcing", following the "call centres model".
Surrogates, scientific expertise and clinical labour are all cheaper in India compared to the US, where commercial surrogacy started in the early 1990s, says Waldby.
She says Indian surrogates get around $5000 to $6000 per baby, which is six to ten times their usual annual income.
Waldby says it costs the western couples around $15,000 or $20,000 for an Indian surrogate, whereas they would pay around $100,000 for a surrogate from the US.
"India is competing on price with the US," she says.
She says, unlike a surrogate who uses her own eggs, a gestational surrogate makes no genetic contribution to the child.The ABC quotes prices that are probably on the high side. Prices can vary depending on the lightness of the skin of the surrogate mother and the quality of her DNA.
This means the child bears no visible trace of the surrogate mother`s appearance and this makes it easier for India to service a global market of people wanting to "reproduce white ethnicity", she says.
Each mother is paid between Â?2,500 and Â?3,500 for carrying a child - equivalent to as much as 10 years` wages for some of the women on the clinic`s books. One report suggests Indian women with fairer skin and higher IQs can charge more for donating eggs, fertilised in a test tube and then implanted in the surrogate mother. Mr Bains said: "There are hundreds of clinics doing this in India. Couple buy child from India â€?baby factory`, London Evening Standard, by Robert Mendick and Shekhar Bhatia, 06.05.09That same Evening Standard article described a situation that could only happen in the 21st Century:
One father from Ilford told how he and his wife had spent 13 years trying to have a baby, before succeeding through a surrogate mother in Mumbai at a cost of Â?50,000.For modern European businesswomen like Aleksandrova the Indian clinics provide a way of outsourcing the hassle of finding a man who wants to have a family. Now women can use the global fertility bazaar to ply gametes as an alternative to dating and messy relationships.
The sperm was donated by Bobby Bains, who is a Sikh, and the eggs by a Hindu woman while the surrogate mother who carried his daughter Daisy for nine months is Muslim.
"She is a little Miss India. She unites all of India," said Mr Bains, 45. "It took a Sikh, a Hindu and a Muslim to bring her into the world." The Indian surrogacy industry has become a multi-million-pound business and has prompted calls for it to be regulated.
For Aleksandrova, 42, this was the culmination of a six-year struggle to become a mother. She divorced at 29, and hadn`t been in a serious relationship since she was 34. "I always wanted to have a child but the men kept saying, `Why don`t we travel?`" she says. "It wasn`t that I was obsessed with my career, I just couldn`t get men to be a father."
Alexsandrova is part of a growing number of global fertility tourists from rich countries such as Britain who fish for cut-price genetic material from India`s pool of highly trained, English-speaking doctors.Not only are surrogate mothers relatively cheap to hire in India, getting a visa is easy. India has a fast track visa called the Medical Visa (M) that is provides entry for a full range of medical tourists. Visas are issued for up to one year and can be extended in one year increments up to a maximum of three years. Co-terminus MX visas are available for family members. The baby will automatically become a U.S. citizen if the parents are citizens. It`s more complicated for Britishers because the United Kingdom considers the babies to be Indian citizens. GlobalDoctors is a website that has almost all the information aspiring parents need to learn how to offshore their baby making.
It is a phenomenon wholly distinct from medical tourism, where patients needing a hip replacement or heart bypass receive identical treatment minus the waiting list and the large bills. Reproductive holidays in India are a real getaway from conditions back home. Fertility tourists are often people desperate to break free from not only financial, but also legal and ethical constraints, in a bid to create life. And Indian clinics woo patients with the language of free choice and a can-do attitude. The fertility tourists, The Guardian, Wednesday 30 July 2008