Paying an Indian clinic for the provision of a surrogate mother has cropped up in the news again with a British couple having IVF and then paying £20,000 for a surrogate. The Confederation of Indian Industry reckons that this largely unregulated business will generate £1.5 billion this year. Suggestions that regulations should be introduced are being strongly resisted by the clinics.
I admit that I am uncomfortable with the whole idea of surrogacy but I am quite horrified by this industry in India that has been established for the benefit of European, Canadian and American couples. The mothers receive a fraction of the total fee, say £4,500. Many clinics implant up to three embryos and babies are almost invariably delivered by Caesarian section. The mothers must live in a hostel throughout the pregnancy and their families, including their own children, are allowed to visit once a week. (Of course, some family cannot afford to travel.) They are required to sign a contract that in the event of their becoming ill, the well-being of the foetus is paramount and delivery of the baby will take precedence over treatment of the surrogate mother. This has resulted in at least one death from a heart attack when the clinic delivered the baby by Caesarean section before sending the collapsed mother to hospital for treatment.
It is said that these women are not forced into surrogacy but choose to do to better their loves and those of the family. I don't see it that way.