Surrogate mothers get little money, have no say: study

Rapidly growing business of 'rent a womb' valued at USD 500 million, but there is no law to protect the interest of surrogate mothers, says report released by non-profit 

 
By Kundan Pandey
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

imageIn the absence of regulations, the burgeoning market of surrogacy has become one-sided, benefiting only those who have the upper hand in the business—commissioning parents, clinics and the agents. The women accepting surrogacy owing to their poor financial condition have no say.

These are the findings of a study carried out by non-profit Centre for Social Research (CSR) with the support of the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development. The findings of the research were released on Wednesday in Delhi. The study was carried out in two metro cities—New Delhi and Mumbai. Fifty surrogate mothers and 25 commissioning parents from each city participated in the study.

The report revealed a disturbing trend: there is no payment structure for surrogate mothers. The report says that the surrogacy contract is signed between the surrogate mother (including her husband), the commissioning parents, but that the surrogate mothers were not given a copy of written contract of the surrogacy arrangement and they were also not aware of the clauses of the contract. The study also found that the decision to become surrogate mother was mainly taken by the surrogate mother herself, but under pressure from husbands.

The report further raised concern about the rights of surrogate mothers as it was discovered that all major decisions related to the surrogacy arrangement were taken by the clinics and the commissioning parents. Surrogate mothers, who were equally involved in this process, had no say in the decisions.

The business of providing “wombs on rent” in the country is valued at a whopping US $500 million and the number of cases of surrogacy is believed to be increasing at a galloping rate. But the business has been not improved quality in the practice. Commissioning parents on a average spend around Rs 40 to 45 lakh, but a surrogate mother hardly gets Rs 4 lakh, that too with various terms and conditions. For example, they do not get single penny in the event of miscarriage or abortion. The living standard of the surrogate mothers is also not taken care of.

Hygiene is a big concern

The research says that surrogate mothers mainly stayed in rented houses (96 per cent in Delhi and 90 per cent in Mumbai). In Delhi, 44 per cent of the respondents had sanitary lavatories while in Mumbai only 24 per cent of the respondents had the facility. Seventy-six per cent respondents in Delhi and 44 per cent in Mumbai had access to water supply.

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