Health & Medicine

Outsourcing pregnancy to India

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(Image by Sagolla (cc:by-nc-nd))

This story was originally reported by PRI's The World.

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Children are priceless. When Doron Mamet, a gay Israeli man, wanted to have a child, however, he ended up having to pay some $140,000 and enlist the help of an American couple. The man eventually thought that the price tag was too high, so he decided to start a business: using surrogates from India to help him (and others like him) have children at a lower cost.

The international story of outsourcing, globalization and parenthood is detailed in the new documentary Google Baby. The film details many of the legal gray areas that parents tread upon when they try to use international surrogacy to have a child. Director Zippy Brand Frank told PRI's The World:

There is no regulation and that’s the reason why I put this film. I wanted to offer a glimpse to the people, or the audience world wide to this industry that is really growing rapidly. Because things cannot be solved in one country.... Technology and science has put us in a situation in which it’s not only about computers, it’s not only about products, and it’s also about babies. Babies can be produced anywhere in the world.

Legislation and regulation may be on its way, in India at least. The Times of India reports that the Indian government may soon set up "womb banks," to store semen, eggs and a massive database about prospective surrogates. Women will be allowed to give birth five times, including her own children, to prevent people from repeatedly enduring surrogacy. It will also impose stricter regulation on international couples looking to use surrogates.

The new regulations could also prevent people like the protagonist of Google Baby from adopting. Gay relationships are decriminalized in India, but not officially legal, and the regulations could bar them from the process. Dr R. S. Sharma told The Times of India, "once this bill is endorsed by the law ministry and becomes an Act, such couples will not be allowed to have surrogate children in India,"

Legislators may be hard-pressed to keep up with all of the new uses for surrogacy worldwide. Frank believes that surrogacy will some day be used by women who want to pursue a career without getting pregnant, or women who want to avoid stretch marks, but still want a child. Frank also points to situations where international parents have rejected children after surrogate pregnancy. Frank told The World, that people are viewing these children as products, and "we should let people be more aware that it's not only about jeans or cars, but it’s about babies."

You can watch a trailer for Google Baby below:

PRI's "The World" is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. "The World" is a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston. 

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