12 November 2010
By Jayashree Nandi
Fertility Problems, Late Marriages Spur The Surrogacy Trend
Recently, Sanjana (name changed), 34, came to the clinic with a problem of infertility. She had already got three in–vitro fertilizations (IVFs) done in Mumbai and came to BACC for the fourth IVF. However, the fourth one was also a biochemical pregnancy miscarriage. She was still up for the fifth IVF but had an abortion during the eighth month.
"She had an implantation failure. Since she was married for 11 years and had tried IVF so many times, we understood how important the baby was for her. So we counselled her for surrogacy and asked her to find a surrogate mother. It was particularly painful as she could conceive but couldn’t carry it through," says Dr Sunitha. Sanjana successfully had a baby boy through the surrogacy last month. Her case is rare as she had already tried IVF several times and was very young for a surrogacy.
But the concept has picked up fast in the city. "People are aware of the surrogacy option. Even a couple of years ago, it was quite rare. But right now, we are dealing with three surrogacy cases in the clinic. Many more are waiting. The only concern with surrogacy is that it’s difficult to find surrogate mothers. We ask the patients to find their own surrogate mothers because then the bond is stronger and there are less chances of any legal hassles," adds Dr Sunitha.
Even at Cradle’s Sure Fertility center, four cases of surrogacy were performed in the past one year. "Couples decide to go for it due to multiple reasons. For instance, a woman lost her womb in an accident. She had no other option but to go in for surrogacy. In two cases we have identified the surrogates for them, while in two others they have brought their own surrogates," says MD, Cradle hospital, Dr Kishore Kumar.
According to some doctors, the surrogates charge anywhere between Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 for the process and regular upkeep.
Gynaecologist, Dr Padmini Prasad says that there is definitely more acceptance of the idea among couples. "They want to carry forward the family lineage and people have started understanding that they will still remain the biological parents and only the womb is different. Almost all the IVF centers I know are seeing and increase in the trend. In the past few years I have assisted in around five to six cases where the surrogate mothers were not just the womb donors but also egg donors. My patients have started accepting it and I have suggested the option to many of my patients,"she said.
Usually, doctors look out for healthy surrogates who have undergone a couple of pregnancies successfully. They also counsel the candidates to see if they are willing to undergo the complete pregnancy. The payment is decided among the two parties and the doctors are not aware of the exchange, apart from the cost of the medical support.
"Some patients have also told us about Shrushti, the first organization in Bangalore that has willing surrogate mothers who register and undergo the process. We do not know much about the organization but we always encourage couples to get their own surrogate mothers and get a lawyer to settle the matter properly, so that after the delivery of the baby there are no legal issues," explained Dr Sunitha.
Career Women Lead The Way
Dr Anu Kottur, gynaecologist with BACC, says the concept has also picked up because many working women nowadays do not have the time to undergo the complete pregnancy cycle.
"Some women are in high positions and travel a lot. They do not prefer to give up their career for the pregnancy. Such women did approach us. But we have mostly helped people who were not able to conceive after several IVFs. The main reason behind this trend is late marriages and lack of time among couples. But why should a woman be deprived of children? If the woman takes care of her surrogate help properly, it can be done very successfully," she explains.
However, most couples still do not prefer to talk about surrogacy in the open.