The surrogacy debate was reignited last week with a Melbourne court granting full parental rights to a gay couple with a child born to a surrogate mother in India.
Medical tourism has not been all bad. Uninsurable Americans getting bypasses in Delhi’s Apollo Hospital rather than perishing on a long waiting list in New York.
A triumph of Indian expertise and enormous revenue for the country.
Does surrogacy deserve to be classed in this revolution?
Should surrogacy be even legal?
Years ago, while I was studying in Delhi University, my Indian guardian Dr Nina Dey told me with furious indignation an incident that occurred when she was conducting research in Bangladesh.
An American company had invited her on a jet boat ride to an almost inaccessible island in the marshes of the delta, unaware that she spoke Bengali.
The company was claiming they were conducting charitable works but it was discovered that they were, under questioning from Dr Dey, guinea pigs in drug trials. Many of them were very seriously ill.
This left an impression on me and I am happy to let it prejudice my views on the surrogacy debate.
Indian wombs are not for sale. India is not a gynecological two-dollar shop.
I feel for infertile couples. Being an unhinged lefty, I feel even sorrier for gay couples, which by the nature of the beast are inherently infertile. But they will have to max out the credit cards, fly to Kentucky and pay a Hillbilly.
India is looking to legislate an industry that by some accounts has 3000 clinics and annually earns India $US 500 million.
This has stemmed from innumerable complications.
A German couple contracted a clinic for a child. The German Government refused citizenship or residency for the child because that country does not allow paid surrogacy. The Indian Government simply does not recognise children born to foreign parents who have donated eggs in the IVF process.
Children are caught in this limbo.
A Japanese couple, divorced during the gestation period of the Indian mother, dropped the child like a hot potato. After a protracted legal battle, the child was adopted by the Japanese man’s 74-year-old grandmother.
These are relatively inconsequential. The industry practices demonic behaviour. In some cases, the Indian mother is locked up for nine months to ‘ensure’ a healthy child.
This is just wholly bloody unacceptable. Try locking up a Californian surrogate mother for a similar period in a contractual arrangement and you would have even Sarah Palin reduced to tears.
What happens if a child is born physically or mentally challenged or just not attractive? You cannot tell me this has not happened in the thousands of surrogate births a year. Do the foreigners reject the child with a satanic quality control?
What happens if the Indian mother gives birth to more than one child or more than what is in the shopping cart? Is that child a surplus to requirements? Is the child killed at birth?
Tragically, this could have eventuated in a stone cold business.
The surrogate mothers are almost exclusively impoverished rural poor who are often illiterate. Their scope of choice is minuscule compared to the rich couples that pay for their child.
This has not stopped a wonderfully courageous woman who has petitioned the Delhi High Court to keep her child that she refuses to surrender.
Masters to this repugnant slavery must be stopped. They are the children shoppers and the shopkeepers of these clinics who pay these women as little as $US500.
Roy Lange is a New Zealander. His family has been involved with the community for more than 45 years. He met his Bollywood Producer-Wife Mitu Bhowmick during his ten year-stay in India. He will write a regular column in Indian Newslink. We welcome reader response either as an online comment
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