Katy tweeted this story from the radically leftist BBC, and it made me feel sad when I read it.
India is known as the “surrogacy hub” of the world where infertile couples, many from across the globe, head to rent a womb. In recent years, the southern city of Chennai has emerged as a major centre with more than a dozen hospitals carrying out the procedure and more than 150 surrogates.
Most surrogate mothers are women from poor families who take up the assignment for money. It’s generally believed that the transaction is purely commercial, but three surrogate mothers tell the BBC about the emotional bonds they developed with the babies they carried in their wombs for nine months and the pain they felt once the umbilical cord was snapped.
Here is one woman’s story from the article:
I live in a slum in Chennai’s Vyasarpadi area and I come from a very poor family. My husband is an auto-rickshaw driver who earns about 8,000 rupees ($120;£92) a month. I work in a factory that makes leather bags. I earn 6,000 rupees ($90; £69).
Seven years ago, my family was struggling, we had borrowed 100,000 rupees from people, mostly to pay the fee of our school-going children, and the debts had to be repaid.
One day, I met a man who worked as an agent for a surrogacy clinic. He told me that I could earn 200,000 rupees being a surrogate mother.
I knew two other women in my neighbourhood who had been surrogate mothers so I agreed.
I thought, I have four children, and now I can help someone who cannot have any. I was thinking how horrible it would be if my daughter couldn’t bear children. I believe everyone should have children and I wanted to help.
I never met the real parents and have no idea who they are. I was still under sedation when they removed the baby. I never set eyes on it.
I have no idea whether it’s white or black, whether it’s Indian or foreigner, I don’t even know whether it’s a boy or a girl!
When I gained consciousness, my first words to my husband were, ‘Did you see the baby? Is it a boy or a girl?’
He said he hadn’t seen it. I asked my doctor, but she didn’t answer my question.
‘You are a surrogate mother, you shouldn’t ask these questions,’ she said.
But I want to know about the baby. I want to know where he or she is and what it is studying.
For three months after giving birth, I spent sleepless nights, I would get headaches thinking about the baby and I had to take medicines to calm down.
Every year, on 4 November, the day the baby was born, our family celebrates its birthday. I do all the rituals that I do for my other children.
I fast in the morning, I cook payasam [rice pudding] and share it with my family and neighbours, and I visit the temple to pray for the baby’s well-being and long life.
I’ve always wondered if the baby is like any of my other children. I really do miss the baby and would give anything to see it once.
I know it’s not my baby after all, but I know that if I’d seen the baby, I wouldn’t have given it away.
I hope the baby is happy and fine wherever it is.
We talk a lot about it, we call it Paapa or Kuzanthai (Tamil words for baby or child) and at times, my family thinks maybe it would have been happier with us.
But then, we are a poor family and in difficult times, we think that perhaps the baby’s better off in a wealthier family.
As soon as I read this, I thought of the scene form the movie “The Island” where the woman in the cloning factory gives birth to the baby and she is holding it and then the cruel doctors and scientists take it away from her and killed her. I just can’t imagine how anyone could take a baby away from the birth mother. There are some things that selfish adults do that are just wrong because of the harm it causes to children. Children are small – they ought to come first.
I wish women would think of having babies when they are younger. It does take some foresight to focus on marriage and children when you are young, but when you think about how expensive adoption is, how expensive and risky IVF is, and how painful surrogate motherhood is for the mother, it really is the best way to go.
Previously, I had blogged about the case of the two gay men who had purchased a baby boy from a surrogate mother in Russia. The mainstream media celebrated the “two gay dads”. But the two gay men raped and abused the boy, and gave him to others to rape and abuse. I can only imagine being a surrogate mother and wondering what the child’s life is like when things like that are happening. I wouldn’t do it. I just couldn’t live with myself not being able to protect and watch over something that I had a hand in making.