Surrogacy is one of the latest additions to India’s growing outsourcing business. It serves foreign couples seeking surrogate mothers in India. Relative affordability combined with loose legal restrictions makes India an ideal choice. A large number of prospective parents abroad and high rates of compensation for willing Indian birth mothers ensure an ever growing pool of suppliers for the industry.
Surrogacy charges in India are approximately a fraction of what these are in the developed countries. It is as low as one tenth of the costs incurred in U.S. or U.K. In the United States for example, a surrogate mother is generally paid $10000 and the agency is also given around $30000. In India however, the entire cost from expenses to birth ranges from $2500–$6500. Commercial surrogacy is legal in India since 2002; so there are not many legal issues and complications involved. The increasing number of Indians who speak English and the availability of fairly advanced medical technology in India further enable the nation to stand out from other potential lower cost countries.
While helping to realize the dream of starting a family for a client, it is important to ensure the health and happiness of the surrogate mother as well as the expectant couple. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has set guidelines for surrogacy. These suggest that the surrogate and the expectant must necessarily draw up an agreement. It also states that a surrogate mother should not be over 45 years of age and must be tested seronegative for HIV. A relative, a known person, as well as a person unknown to the couple may act as a surrogate mother but no woman may act as a surrogate more than thrice in her lifetime. However these guidelines have no legal validity. The Indian govt. should regulate IVF and related assisted reproductive technologies which may provide some legal protection for couples when they go for surrogacy treatment. Similarly there should also be certain laws to protect the rights of the surrogate mother and prevent her from being exploited. This will help curb injustice and promote fair practice.
Indian surrogacy is already a $445 million-a-year business. There are no official estimates on the number of surrogate births in India, but the ICMR predicts that commercial surrogacy will grow into a nearly $US6 billion-per-year industry. But since a country like India has available surrogates mostly belonging to the lower strata, concerns of health become a serious issue. So a commissioning couple must ascertain the health and medical condition of the person before agreeing on a surrogate mother.
India is emerging as a leader in international surrogacy and a major destination in surrogacy related medical tourism. Indian surrogates have been increasingly popular with infertile couples in the industrialized nations. While some critics' visions of baby farms are unrealistic, the rapidly growing business may promote the transition of surrogacy from an uncommon medical procedure to an option of convenience.
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