All you need to know about India’s $2.5B commercial Surrogacy industry.

1Few days back, The honorable Supreme Court of India asked Centre to put a ban on commercial surrogacy for foreigners. According to Supreme Court, it should be valid for “needy infertile married Indian couples” sparking a debate on whether it’s morally right to put a complete ban than to regulate a industry and differentiate between Indian and foreigners.

Let’s have a concise look and understand the real issue.

What is commercial surrogacy?
Starting with basics, surrogacy arrangement or surrogacy agreement is the carrying of a pregnancy for intended parent.

This is also associated to Fertility tourism which,speaking in wiki language, is the practice of traveling to another country for fertility treatments. The main reasons for fertility tourism are legal prohibitions or regulation of the sought procedure in the home country, the non-availability of a procedure in the home country, as well as lower costs in the destination country. India, Ukraine, Russia and US are preferred destination.

It costs almost third of what would cost in US! via-theguardian

Talking in Indian context, commercially surrogacy is largely unregulated market thus there are related risk associated with it, we’ll come back to that later in this post.

Why is Supreme Court contemplating a ban?
Just to be clear, Supreme Court has asked for ban on foreign couple, same-sex couple. Indian couple can still go for this route.

Surrogacy was termed legal in 2002 unlike in other developing nations where it’s still banned but a debate over whether the unregulated industry exploits poor women prompted authorities to draft a law that could make it tougher for foreigners seeking babies made in India.

The  survey, done by the women’s advocacy group Center for Social Research, said there is “no fixed rule” for payments to surrogate mothers, which are “arbitrarily decided by the clinics.” The women, the report said, are kept in special, guarded facilities and allowed limited social interaction during pregnancy. The rights of women who miscarry are not secured, it said.

There have been cases of foreign couples leaving child in India. via-aljazeera

The bench also asked the Centre whether commercial surrogacy amounts to economic and psychological exploitation of the surrogate mother and whether the practice is inconsistent with dignity of womanhood.

Why is India such a huge market?
A UN backed report predicted surrogacy Industry is about $400 mil but a report by the Confederation of Indian Industry estimates the practice will generate $3bn a year by 2013.

Reasons being:

  • Relatively lower costs of in-vitro fertilisation and other treatments.
  • Lax regulatory framework to protect the rights of surrogate mothers and the babies.
    In the absence of comprehensive laws to prevent exploitation, there have been instances where surrogates have died as a result of complications during pregnancy and the unavailability of good post-natal care.


Counter arguments.

“But more bureaucracy will make it difficult for everyone. It will not only mean less commissioning parents from overseas but it will also impact surrogates, who will lose out on the only chance they have to change their lives for the better.”
says Akanksha’s executive.


The Akanksha clinic in Anand is the best-known at home and abroad, giving the small town in Gujarat state the reputation as India’s “surrogacy capital.
They assure the surrogates enjoy healthy, sanitary environment for whole time they are at the clinic and are fairly paid.

Taking excerpts from Business Insider report; “For 33-year-old Naina Patel, who gave birth to Gabrielle, the compensation outweighs the downside. The wife of an auto-rickshaw driver with three daughters of her own, she had to live in a hostel for nine months with 60 other surrogates so the clinic could monitor her health.”
She received $7000 for surrogacy which is enough for her to buy house and have enough for her kid’s education. Like Nanina, most of the surrogate mother are from that strata of society for whom, surrogacy is a way for much needed money to improve quality of life, an opportunity they won’t get anywhere else.

What happens now?

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told the bench that a surrogacy bill was being deliberated upon to regulate the issue and bill would be introduced in Parliament very soon.

As told previously, Foreign couples, including same sex and unmarried parent will be banned from using commercial surrogacy. It’s also expected to come up with draft that would protect surrogate mother’s right and provide proper compensation.


P.S.- Content is sources from indian express, Business Insider.



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