Monday, April 22, 2013

My thoughts

A couple weeks ago CBS  did a "piece" on surrogacy in India. Since it aired it has been a topic of discussion.


 I am very proud of my clinic, and of my doctor. I think she presented herself and the clinic elegantly. However, I do feel the journalist failed to elucidate some positive aspects. 

The images of the woman sitting in a room with her children were from the accommodations provided by SCI.  At SCI, the surrogates families may live with them in private rooms. My family gives me strength and joy, so I assume that the women in India probably feel the same way. And I think the surrogates would be happier having their family and specifically their children with them.

The barracks-style accommodations provided by an unnamed clinic are certainly not those of SCI. I felt the video gave the impression that it was. 

SCI takes exceptional care of the surrogates, offering counseling, housing, and educational opportunities for them.  Legal counseling is provided, and contracts are written in both Hindi and English. Surrogates fully understand the contracts, which are written to  protect all  parties involved.

The passing of Permilla at a clinic in Ahmedabad was a tragedy that struck this entire community.  I feel for her family and it is a reminder that their are risk involved with pregnancy.  The maternal risk for death is 0.00009; although this may seem small, it doesn't matter when you are standing at the other end of the equation.  My heart goes out to her children -  it is very sad. It is important that insurance and mechanisms to protect the surrogates family are put in place.  The American couple did provide some support, but it was voluntary. What if they didn't?

Again not illustrated, SCI is a clinic that offers health care and life insurance for the surrogates.

It is responsible and important

And to the title question:  "Is this exploitation?"

Wikipedia defines economic exploitation as  "the act of using another persons labour without offering them an adequate compensation "

Adjusting for index differences (economic buying power) between the U.S and India, the surrogate mothers are compensated an average equivalent of $48,000 - $60,000 (USD).

Surrogate mothers in the U.S. are seldom labeled as being exploited and they can determine their rates, or they can choose to work with an agency. Their payments range on average between $15,000 and $65,000.

Regardless of location,  these women who choose to be surrogates are brave - they are protecting babies for nine months. They should be celebrated and not victimized. Personally,  I think they are as brave as police officers or fire fighters who also protect (and coincidentally receive a paycheck for doing so).

I love our surrogate mother. She is more than capable of understanding the contract, she is strong, and again she is very brave - quite the opposite of a victim.

 CBS did not touch this base but oftentimes (and I do mean often) in these arguments, the proponents of surrogacy will offer facts relating to positive outcomes. The critics, however, cite fictitious scenarios and often quote fictional books such as The Handmaid's Tale or Origins of Love.

Can we as society oppose artificial intelligence because we saw the Terminator and it ended badly?

I feel it is unfair to judge. If you are not an infertile couple, you can not possibly understand the shoes we walk in. And if you have money to send your children to school and make sure they have 3 squares a day, you can not understand the surrogate mothers' situations either. Surrogacy in India offers a solution to parties who have real and serious problems.

Oprah - in her Oprah enthusiasm - declared surrogacy in India as women helping women.

But surrogacy in India has helped many same gendered couples and singles have beautiful families as well. I like to think of it more as women protecting babies until their parents can...

Everyone  is entitled to their opinion.  This is just mine, and thanks for allowing me to share it with you.



  1. The maternal risk for death in India is around 1 % although still a small number, it is not 0.00009

    1. Anonymous you are correct that the overall maternal death rate for India is just under 1%. The 0.00009 statistic is taken as the maternal death rate for a pregnant woman undergoing antenatal care with regular checkups. Regardless of the number, it is devastating should such an event ever occur.

  2. Yes, we need to safe-guard and protect these brave women who sacrifice so much to give others so much. You are absolutely correct, those who have babies do not know the pain and anguish of those not able to have one. Those that have three square meals, would not understand the desperation of a mother who cannot provide for her children. They are our unsung heros! Let us care for them as much as we can and encourage our clinics to do the same.

    1. Thanks for sharing anonymous. I agree they are unsung heroes! What is sad is that their song is not sung. They should be celebrated. So should clinics like SCI that are responsible, and facilitate so much good in this world.

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    1. "The codfish lays ten thousand eggs, The homely hen lays one; The codfish never cackles, To tell you when she's done; And so we scorn the codfish, While the humble hen we prize; Which only goes to show you, That it pays to advertise”

      Just please dont do it on this blog

  4. Critty,
    Only people who lost a baby can truly understand the extreme pain, only people who work so hard to have a baby can respect and admire the courage of a surrogate, only people who seen or experience the extreme poverty can grasp the meaning of 5 to 10 years of household income. I was really close to that 0.00009, and all I can say is it can happen so fast that no one could see it coming! I think CBS just want to create drama or a sensational piece but it failed to provide a balanced view.

    1. I thought the images taken at SCI gave a positive impression for care of both surrogates and IPs - it showed it as clean and with modern medical equipment. But I felt it was really unfair to name SCI by name and then show images and stories of other unnamed clinics that may not be as modern or have the same standards. This failure to attribute the images gave a negative impression of SCI and left a lot of questions from my friends and family. You're right - it is just sensational drama.