What does the future hold for surrogate mothers in India? Many women received live-changing payments for bearing a child for Western couples. Now that opportunity will disappear.

The Straights Times documents the experiences of a few surrogate mothers whose lives were substantially improved by becoming surrogates. One pregnant surrogate explains her own story… She earns 400,000 rupees as a surrogate, but her alternative is to work as a laborer for 120 rupees per day. Her time as a surrogate has allowed her to buy a house and put her children in private school.

Now the industry is in a panic mode, the article reports. Clinics are trying to perform last-minute surrogacy programs before the new law comes into effect. Agencies are preparing to move operations int countries like Ukraine, Georgia, the United States or more risky, unregulated destinations.

One IVF Hospital claims that inquiries for surrogacy have risen by 40% amid uncertainty among couples and surrogates. “There is a big jump (in inquiries) because people want to start the process before the ban kicks in. Celebrities and those who have money can go abroad. The worst-affected will be middle-class couples,” said one doctor, whose clinic performs 20 to 25 surrogacy procedures a month.

Surrogates in India are paid between 60,000 rupees and 500,000 rupees for each pregnancy, while clinics are paid between 1.2 million rupees and 2 million rupees for surrogacy services.

Critics, including fertility doctors, have called the legislation excessive and discriminatory, even as those who oppose surrogacy maintain it is ethically wrong to exploit poor women.

 
 

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