Considering a surrogate? Have you tried India?

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Medical Conditions, Media

There's apparently a new type of tourism that's sweeping the infertility world, and it's called, aptly enough, "fertility tourism."   According to an article on MSNBC.com, more and more infertile couples in America and Great Britain are turning to India to find a surrogate.  The reason?  Many Indian doctors are English-speaking, the cost of surrogacy is cheaper (US$5,400, as opposed to the locally shocking US$18,000), and India has generally good health care.

There are downsides, of course:  the medical consideration given to the surrogate isn't as high as in the west -- where British doctors will only implant 2 embryos at a time, Indian doctors are willing to plant as many as 6 -- and this can result multiple pregnancies, which significantly increases the chance of premature birth, low birth weight, cerebral palsy, stillborn or death in infancy.  There are also legal considerations:  in India, because the Indian Council on Medical Research hasn't issued any guidelines with regard to foreign citizens using Indian surrogates, couples involved in the procedure are required to adopt their child under Indian law.  As if that wasn't complicated enough, because India doesn't fall under the Hague Convention on International Adoption, couples may be required to re-adopt their child in their home country.

Still, this hasn't deterred many families, who find the surrogate relationship a win-win situation.  “We provide her with the money for her education, make sure she’s eating properly, taking her tablets and generally keep an eye on her. When she goes to hospital for checkups, they e-mail us to tell us she’s been,” says Nikki Baines, who along with her husband Bobby, has hired an Indian surrogate.  Bobby adds:  "She will always remain in our hearts as a family member.”

(Incidentally, if you're interested in following the progress of Nikki and Bobby, they've set up a website for your convenience.)

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