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Adoption and Surrogacy In India

a blog by Julie Monacelli, November 19, 2013

Every day, I read about a dozen or so articles about read about fertility, infertility, surrogacy and/or pregnancy. I like to stay informed so I can offer the information up the information on the forums of, in blogs or articles on Lately, I have been increasingly disturbed by the number of fertility issues India seems to have, and I cannot reconcile in my head if this is the result of poor education, poverty or a culture desperate to pull themselves out of their situation.

Indian children given up for overseas adoption are protected by the guidelines set up by the Adoption of Children 2011, which is based on the Hague Convention. The laws allow one in five babies to be given up overseas. In 2012, 4,695 children were adopted by Indian couples, while another 308 children landed overseas, most often in the United States, Spain and Italy. Many of these children are considered special needs cases with developmental disabilities, physical conditions, birth defects or traumatic injuries, such as burns. My thoughts about this being related to poverty were quashed when I found that poorer states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh do not lead the nation in children given up.

Surrogacy in India has been largely unregulated according to the news. This nation of more than 1.2 billion people has emerged as the leading destination for couples looking for low-cost, trouble free surrogacy. In a survey funded by the Indian government, at least partially due to the absence of regulations, the population recruited for this medical commodity is poor, uneducated women with no understanding of the contract, they are signing. International couples, often from the United States and Britain, are most often contracting Indian women to birth their child. Financially, India offers a distinct advantage as surrogacy contracts are often 1/5th of that paid in their home country.

As soon as 2020, India will have a surplus of 25 million men. This is due in large part to the preference for male children to female children. Sex selection remains one of the top reasons for abortion in India, along with fertility campaigns and eugenic programs weeding out the unfit. Will sex selection tip the scales on the number of women carrying surrogate pregnancies? Will the number of children available for adoption decrease as fertile women decline in availability?

My position is that India seems to be a country with relatively deep social and economic issues trying to solve at least some of their problems with fertility related dollars. I have no problem with surrogacy, international or domestic. Personally, the commitment of Indian women to their pregnancies would be attractive to me if a gestational carrier was in our future. But, I am concerned about the seeming lack of regulation involved in adoption and surrogacy within the country.

Where do you stand? Do you believe this Indian women are being exploited? Are these ethical practices?


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