First, we began outsourcing customer service to India. Then software development. Now babies? Apparently so. An article on MSNBC says that the surrogate mother business in India is booming. And that couples who cannot afford surrogacy in the United States are increasingly signing up with surrogacy clinics in India, and traveling there to watch as an Indian woman gives birth to their baby. When it comes to surrogacy in the United States, I think it's a great thing for couples wherein the mother cannot carry or conceive a child. But there's something about outsourcing babies to India that bothers me.
It's this line in the story:
The slums are a prime recruiting ground for [Mumbai's] surrogacy clinics.
It's wrong that a woman has so few ways of earning a living and feeding the family she already does have (clinics choose women who already have children, in order to lessen the chance of the woman becoming attached to the surrogacy child) that she has to take on the pain and risks of pregnancy and childbirth.
Says a doctor at one of the fertility clinics:
These surrogates are coming to us because they have no other way of earning -- apart from labor -- so we want to groom them and change their lives.
Think about that. No other way of earning a living.
Do women in the States resort to surrogacy strictly for the money as well? I'm sure they do. We'd like to believe every surrogate is doing it because they just love being pregnant and just want to help infertile couples, but I'm sure that isn't the case. But do American surrogates have as little opportunity to earn a living in other ways as the poor women of India do? Doubtful. Additionally, American women, if and when pregnancy complications arise, can go to a modern hospital in the U.S. The Indian woman? She gets the "crowded public hospital."
I'm not saying the practice should stop, though it does sound like it needs to be better regulated. I'm just saying that women in the slums of India should have access education and jobs, and shouldn't have to resort to childbirth for money.
What do you think about surrogacy in India?
Image via Christian Haugen/ Flickr