This is the second of two reports about Indian women who are paid to bear children for infertile Western couples. Note to teachers: Some of the material in this video may not be suitable for all ages.
In India, parental surrogacy is often less complicated and expensive than having a surrogate in the United States. Even though the money may lift many women out of poverty, the practice also raises ethical concerns.
Dr. Nayna Patel of Akanksha Infertility Clinic has delivered 400 surrogate babies since 2004. According to reports, her clinic implants embryos in surrogates she recruits from the area and pays around $7,000 for a pregnancy carried to term. Biological parents come from across India and around the world.
Parents traveling to meet their newborns also come from all over the world.
Kirshner Ross-Vaden, 46, came from Colorado to pick up her baby girl named Serenity. She was born four weeks premature, but after a week in neonatal intensive care, she was ready to be discharged.
According to Vaden, the cost, $10,000 to $15,000 all told, is a fraction of what it is in the U.S. And, in America, she added, surrogacy contracts are not always airtight
"You can sign 100 documents. It doesn't matter. If that surrogate changes her mind, she can sue you for that child. And, oftentimes, she will win. And coming here to India, these women, they don't want my child. It's very cut and dry. They do not want my child. They want my money. And that is just fine with me," she said.
However, not everyone agrees.
According to Dr. Arthur Caplan, director of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics, the contracts are usually written to protect the wealthy people who are commissioning the baby.
"So that if the woman suffers an injury, if the woman has a health problem due to childbirth, if there's a long-term chronic condition, then what?" Caplan asked.
Dr. Nayna Patel said they do a lot of psychological counseling to the surrogate and the family before they recruit them. They explain to them the procedure of IVF, what all they will have to undergo.
"If she has had any complications during her previous pregnancy, we will ask her not to become a surrogate, because the same can repeat this time, to make it very sure and safe for her," she said.
According to reports, the moment their pregnancies are confirmed, surrogates are required to move into this home run by Dr. Patel. They're offered skills training in things like tailoring, but mostly it's a quiet, sedentary life.
The women who spend nine months in this surrogate hostel have all experienced childbirth with their own biological children. It's a prerequisite for becoming a surrogate. What very few of them have experienced with those previous pregnancies is any kind of prenatal care. And that's in sharp contrast to the pampering they get here, with meals provided and medical attention, should they need it, round the clock.
"You can sign 100 documents. It doesn't matter. If that surrogate changes her mind, she can sue you for that child. And, oftentimes, she will win. And coming here to India, these women, they don't want my child. It's very cut and dry. They do not want my child. They want my money. And that is just fine with me." - Kirshner Ross-Vaden.
"And the contracts are usually written, to be blunt, to protect the wealthy people who are commissioning the baby, so that if the woman suffers an injury, if the woman has a health problem due to childbirth, if there's a long-term chronic condition, then what?" -Dr. Arthur Caplan, Director, University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics.
"Am I living happily ever after now? I certainly hope so. I hope that I can get her home, and I hope that she is a happy, healthy little baby, and that -- that is what I will have, that she will remain such and grow up as such, a happy, healthy little girl." -Kirshner Ross-Vaden.
1. What is infertility?
2. What is surrogacy?
3. Do you know anyone who has had a baby through a surrogate mother?
1. What is the difference between surrogacy and adoption?
2. Why are couples traveling outside the U.S. to find surrogates?
3. How do you feel about surrogacy? Discuss.