Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles


Surrogate mothers: Outsourcing pregnancy in India

The practice of renting a womb and getting a child is like outsourcing pregnancy. This trade's business volume is estimated to be around $ 500 million and the numbers of cases of surrogacy are believed to be increasing at galloping rate in India.

MeriNews, By Joseph Gathia, June 23, 2008

India - THE MINISTRY of Women and Child Development is examining the issue of 'surrogate motherhood' in India for bringing up a comprehensive legislation. But surrogate motherhood - as an arrangement, in which a woman carries and bears a child for another person or persons, but takes no ownership of the child born - has also raised moral, ethical, social and legal questions about both the woman and the 'commissioned baby'.

To understand the issues involved, let us see the case of Surekha. She is seven-months pregnant like any other expecting mothers, except that the child she is carrying isn't her own. When Surekha gives birth to this child in India, the newborn will be immediately be handed over to its biological parents, Non Resident Indians (NRIs) who live in Canada and who have been unable to bear a child on their own. In return for renting her womb, Surekha will be paid one lakh rupees.

This practice of renting a womb and getting a child is like outsourcing pregnancy. The business volume of this trade is estimated to be around $ 500 million and the numbers of cases of surrogacy are believed to be increasing at galloping rate.

The exact extent of this practice in India is not known, but inquiries revealed that this practice has doubled in last few years and normally women from small towns are selected for this kind of outsourcing pregnancy.

Surekha's husband Madan (name changed) says his meagre income of Rs 2,000 per month as a casual worker is not enough to run the family and educate children. He says that the extra money will allow him to invest in his children's education and to buy a new home.

The medical opinion is divided on this kind of outsourced pregnancy. Dr Gupta reminds that, "This is not like donating a kidney. Bearing a child is an emotional issue. It is hard to force nine-month-pregnancy on any woman." She cites dozens of cases of couples that have spent a small fortune on failed in-vitro fertilisations or experienced repeated miscarriages and have had no option but to turn to surrogacy.

The practice first got momentum in America. Although the extent of the practice in America is unclear, a 1992 estimate calculated that as many as 4,000 babies have been born to surrogate mothers. The cost differences are clear-cut, however. In the US, surrogate mothers are typically paid $15,000, and agencies claim another $30,000. In India, the entire costs ranges from $2,500 to $6,500.

An interesting case has been reported from Britain. After two fruitless years of searching in Britain, including offering $17,000 for a surrogate, Bobby and Kalwinder Bains took out advertisements in Indian newspapers. The couple has found an Indian surrogate mother, who they are paying $720 for implantation of the embryo, $9,000.

The amounts are still nearly three times cheaper than what surrogacy in Britain would cost. Now the couple has started a website to help link up prospective parents and surrogate mothers from India.

Some 75 per cent of the clients are NRIs from Britain, America, Japan, and Southeast Asia. They come to India for the same reason many corporations do - it's cheaper.

While commercial surrogacy (or outsourcing pregnancy) is a growing industry in India where the embryo is transferred to the womb of the surrogate woman via in vitro fertilisation (IVF) Razia Ismail, a former United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF) media officer and now coordinator of India Alliance for Child's Rights has expressed certain concerns.

"You have no idea if your surrogate mother is smoking, drinking alcohol, doing drugs. You don't know what she's doing. You have a third-party surrogate mother agency as a mediator, but there's no one monitoring her in the sense that you don't know what's going on."

Another fear is that rich Western and NRI couples, who because of the lack of time, will come here looking for surrogate mothers and will simply outsource their pregnancy jobs to Indian girls at a price that is a fraction of what they have to pay in their own countries.

Few other questions that remain unresolved - Is it legal in India to become surrogate mothers? Will the child born to an Indian surrogate mother be a citizen of this country? Who arranges for the birth certificate and passport that will be required by the foreign couple at the time of immigration?

An enterprise known as reproductive outsourcing is a new but rapidly expanding business in India. Clinics that provide surrogate mothers for foreigners say they have recently been inundated with requests from the America and Europe, as word spreads of India's mix of skilled medical professionals, relatively liberal laws and low prices.

Nor is it entirely accepted in other parts of the globe. Movements to allow for surrogate motherhood have been rejected by voters in places like Sweden, Spain, France, and Germany. Other nations that allows it, including South Africa, Britain, and Argentina, employ independent ethics committees to evaluate surrogacy requests on a case-by-case basis.

Commercial surrogacy, which is banned in some states and some European countries, was legalised in India in 2002. The cost comes to about $25,000, roughly a third of the typical price in America. That includes the medical procedures, payment to the surrogate mother, which is often, but not always, done through the clinic, plus air tickets and hotels for two trips to India (one for the fertilisation and a second to collect the baby).

There are no firm statistics on how many surrogate mothers are being arranged in India for foreigners, but anecdotal evidence suggests a sharp increase. It is for this reasons even some of those involved in the business of organising surrogates want greater regulation.

In India, a small town Anand, in Gujarat, is pioneer in surrogate motherhood.

"After IT services, it seems it's now the turn of babies to be outsourced from India," says Sushma Mehta, a woman activist from Ahmedabad who is involved with a woman and child development project.

Under guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research, surrogate mothers sign away their rights to any children. A surrogate's name is not even on the birth certificate.

Surrogacy is an area fraught with ethical and legal uncertainties. Critics argue that the ease, with which relatively rich foreigners are able to 'rent' the wombs of poor Indians creates the potential for exploitation. Although the government is actively promoting India as a medical tourism destination, what some see as an exchange of money for babies has made many here uncomfortable.

An article published in The Times of India questioned how such a law would be enforced: "In a country crippled by abject poverty," it asked, "how will the government body guarantee that women will not agree to surrogacy just to be able to eat two square meals a day?"

There is growing evidence that surrogacy being used in India and that the services of women are being marketed for surrogate motherhood. Are wombs for renting - and are babies' commodities to be planted and harvested? What role does money play? Present official guidelines do not provide clear standards of answers. The government of India is moving to address the issue and Ministry of Women and Child Development is holding consultation across the country, which is indeed a step in right direction.

Paternity Fraud
UK National Survey

Paternity fraud survey statistics

Scotland's National Newspaper

96% of women are liars, honest

5,000 women polled

Half the women said that if they became pregnant by another man but wanted to stay with their partner, they would lie about the baby's real father.

Forty-two per cent would lie about contraception in order to get pregnant, no matter the wishes of their partner.

Globe and Mail - Paternity Fraud statistics for Canada

Canada's largest
national newspaper

Mommy's little secret

The article contains info about children's identity fraud at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

December 14, 2002.

Includes interview with employees of Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, Canada who admit they deny children's identity information to husbands/male partners of mothers who want to hide the real identity of their child because they had an affair. The U.N. Convention on the Rights of The Child specifically supports a child's human right to have a relationship with both his/her biological parents. In addition, this article is proof that The Hospital for Sick Children ("Sick Kids") supports paternity fraud.

Further "Sick Kids" supports a mother's rights only, which they view, supersedes 3 other people's rights, namely, the rights of the biological father, the rights of the mother's male partner/husband and the child's identity rights.

BBC News logo

One in 25 fathers 'not the daddy'

Up to one in 25 dads could unknowingly be raising another man's child, UK health researchers estimate.

Increasing use of genetic testing for medical and legal reasons means Read More ..uples are discovering the biological proof of who fathered the child.

The Liverpool John Moores University team reached its estimate based on research findings published between 1950 and 2004.

The study appears in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Biological father
Professor Mark Bellis and his team said that the implications of so-called paternal discrepancy were huge and largely ignored, even though the incidence was increasing.

In the US, the number of paternity tests increased from 142,000 in 1991 to 310,490 in 2001.

Paternity Fraud - Spain Supreme Court - Civil Damages

Daily Mail UK

Adulterous woman ordered to pay husband £177,000 in 'moral damages'

The Daily Mail, UK
18th February 2009

An adulterous Spanish woman who conceived three children with her lover has been ordered to pay £177,000 in 'moral damages' to her husband.

The cuckolded man had believed that the three children were his until a DNA test eventually proved they were fathered by another man.

The husband, who along with the other man cannot be named for legal reasons to protect the children's identities, suspected his second wife may have been unfaithful in 2001.

Sydney Morning Herald

Biology, not heart, provokes women's infidelity

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
January 15, 2009

BEAUTIFUL women who have affairs can now blame it on their sex hormones.

Women with higher levels of oestradiol, a form of oestrogen, not only look and feel more attractive, they are also more likely to cheat on their partners, a new study has found.

One-night-stands are not what interest these flirtatious females, who tend to have bigger breasts, relatively small waists and symmetrical faces as a result of their high levels of oestradiol.

Rather, they adopt a strategy of serial monogamy, say the researchers, led by Kristina Durante of the University of Texas.

Paternity Fraud & the Criminal Code of Canada

Paternity fraud: Is it or should it be a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada?

You be the judge.

Independent Women's Forum

Who Knows Father Best?

Feminist organizations including the National Organization of Women (NOW) has objected to legislation that requires the courts to vacate paternity judgments against men who arent, in fact, the father.

Think about that. NOW wants some man, any man, to make child support payments. The woman who doesnt even know who the father is, should not be held responsible for her actions, is a sweet, loving, blameless mother who seeks only to care for her child and if naming some schmuck as father who never saw her before in his life helps her provide for the innocent babe, well then, that's fine.

Innocence is no excuse. Pay up.   Read More ..

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: November 22, 2004

Who's Your Daddy?

Last year, more than 3,000 DNA paternity tests were commissioned by Australian men, and in almost a quarter of those cases, the test revealed that not only had their partners been unfaithful, but the children they thought were theirs had been sired by someone else. Read More ..

Paternity Fraud

Sunday Times

DNA: Why the truth can hurt

The Sunday Times
March 27, 2005

IT sounded too good to be true and it was.

The fairytale that saw Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott reunited with the son he thought he had given up for adoption 27 years ago, ABC sound-recordist Daniel O'Connor, ended this week when DNA tests confirmed another man had fathered Mr O'Connor.

The revelations were devastating for all involved, not least Mr O'Connor.

Still reeling from the emotional reunion with his mother, Kathy Donnelly, and Mr Abbott a few months ago, a simple test of truth has thrown the trio into disarray a situation familiar to thousands of other Australians.

Paternity testing in Australia is a burgeoning industry.

The simplicity of the test cells are collected from a mouth swab grossly underestimates the seriousness of the situation.

Paternity Fraud Australia

Fathers May Get Money Back in Paternity Fraud Cases

18 March, 2005
FindLaw, Australia

Proposed new laws will make it easier for fathers to recover child maintenance payments if DNA testing reveals that they are not the child's father.

The Family Law Amendment Bill 2005 allows people who wrongly believed they were the parent of a child to recover any child maintenance paid or property transferred under an order of a court under the Family Law Act 1975 .

"The bill is intended to make it easier for people who find themselves in this position to take recovery action without the need to initiate separate proceedings for an order from a court of civil jurisdiction, such as a State, Local or Magistrates court," Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said.

USA Today

Men wage battle on 'paternity fraud'

USA TODAY, by Martin Kasindorf, December 12, 2002

An acid sense of betrayal has been gnawing at Damon Adams since a DNA test showed that he is not the father of a 10-year-old girl born during his former marriage.

"Something changes in your heart," says Adams, 51, a dentist in Traverse City, Mich. "When she walks through the door, you're seeing the product of an affair."

But Michigan courts have spurned the DNA results Adams offered in his motions to stop paying $23,000 a year in child support. Now, Adams is lobbying the state Legislature for relief and joining other men in a national movement against what they call "paternity fraud." Read More ..