Fertility-Challenged American Couples Turning To India For Inexpensive Surrogacy

Many American couples having trouble conceiving a child are going to the other side of the world for help.

Surrogacy has become an increasingly popular option for couples with fertility struggles, and many Americans are going to India to find young women willing to carry their babies to term. The reason? It’s cheaper.

Women in India are performing as surrogates for American couples for roughly $25,000. That’s less than a quarter of what couples would pay in the United States.

A CBS News report concerns the town of Anand, India, which has recently grown to become the hub of the country’s multi-million dollar surrogacy industry. One doctor there, Nayana Patel, has helped more than 200 American couples have a baby.

“When you see a childless couple you understand how desperate, how frustrated they are. I mean, they are not living a life — they are just like vegetables,” said Dr. Patel.

A big problem with Anand’s surrogacy business is that it is completely unregulated. One mistake at another clinic left parents with a baby that wasn’t theirs.

But it’s inexpensive, and Dr. Patel takes measures to make sure that mistakes aren’t made. She keeps surrogates in a hostel so that she can closely monitor their pregnancies. It’s often overcrowded, and surrogates are frequently cut-off from their families. They generally earn $8,000 of the $25,000 fee.

Another concern is whether the surrogate mothers have any legal protections. To that end, Dr. Patel seemingly plays it by ear, as it is an unregulated business.

“I would say that they have the right to terminate the pregnancy at any stage of pregnancy if they are not comfortable but in that case they’ll have to pay the couple whatever money they have spent so far,” said Dr Patel.

But many surrogate mothers make the sacrifice to provide for their own families. One such surrogate, Meena Parmar, worked as a housemaid making $30 per month. She plans to use the money she makes from being a surrogate to provide for her own son’s education.

“My biggest concern was I didn’t want to take advantage of a woman who was desperately in need of money, physically not capable of doing this,” said American Dana Chandra, who sought out a surrogate for her son, Ethan.

“We kind of struggle with a lot of these kind of issues ourselves, kind of thinking are we taking advantage? Because obviously, we did it here because of financial reasons.”

What do you think of American couples going to India for surrogates?

[Image via: Vitaliy Hrabar, Shutterstock.com]