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Exclusive: Rise in number of couples seeking 'wombs for hire' abroad

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Increase in British couples turning to poor foreign surrogate mothers to have their babies 

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Wealthy British couples who cannot have children are increasingly seeking "wombs for hire" from women overseas, according to figures obtained by The Independent.

The number of couples formally registering children born to foreign surrogates has nearly trebled in five years, raising concerns that poor women in developing countries are being exploited by rich Westerners.

"Parental orders" granted following surrogacy – to transfer the child from the surrogate mother to the commissioning parents – have risen from 47 in 2007 to 133 in 2011.

While the figures are still relatively small, experts say they understate the true scale of the trade which is driven by agencies operating in countries such as India, drawn by a lack of red tape and the absence of regulation.

There are parallels with the trade in inter-country adoption 20 years ago, when hundreds of children from impoverished families in eastern Europe and the developing world were "sold" to wealthy foreigners, with few checks on their suitability, they claim.

Commercial surrogacy is permitted in the US and in many other countries including India, where it was legalised in 2002.

But it is banned in Britain and only expenses may be paid – making it difficult for UK couples where neither partner is able to bear children to find women prepared to volunteer for the role.

In 2010 the law was changed to allow gay and lesbian couples and unmarried heterosexual couples to use surrogates for the first time, boosting demand further.

Events such as the Alternative Families Show, which acts as a showcase for surrogacy agencies overseas, regularly draw large crowds. The impact can be seen in the increasing numbers of wealthy British couples who are going abroad where there are fewer restrictions and a surrogate womb can be rented from £10,000 to £20,000. Some do so after trying and failing to have a baby by in-vitro fertilisation, directed by doctors who have been treating them.

"We have clinicians in this country who have links with overseas clinics. That was stopped with international adoption years ago. I don't think the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has been strong enough on this," said Marilyn Crawshaw, senior lecturer in the University of York's department of social policy, who published the figures on parental orders in the Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law.

"There is concern about child trafficking. The World Health Organisation held a meeting on this. One report described a surrogacy ring in Thailand in 2011 in which 13 Vietnamese women, seven of them pregnant, had been trafficked for the purpose of acting as surrogates. Other reports have highlighted concerns about the exploitation of Indian surrogates."

Ms Crawshaw said evidence suggested that the number of children born in India to commissioning parents from the UK was "well in excess" of the cases known to official sources, making monitoring very difficult.

"US social workers have warned that the decline in inter-country adoption may be leading to its replacement by global surrogacy as the preferred route for those wanting to build their family with a 'healthy' infant but with no less concerns among professionals as to associated ethical dilemmas and human rights concerns," she said.

Natalie Gamble, a lawyer specialising in surrogacy cases, added: "We have got this phenomenon where people can go overseas and do deals with commercial agencies and then come back and ask for a parental order.

"The law of our land says you cannot buy and sell babies. But the judges end up granting the parental order, with just a rap on the knuckles for the parents, on the grounds that the welfare of the child is paramount.

"When people went overseas to adopt, safeguards were put in place to stop the buying and selling of children. Are we going to have the same problems again with overseas surrogacy?"

Case study: 'It was awkward when the mother had to hand over our twins'

We both found it very hard to keep it together. It was a very emotional time. We could never have imagined it a couple of years ago."

Stephen Hill and his partner Johnathon Busher first held their twin girls in their arms less than 12 hours after their birth in a Delhi hospital last April.

The gay couple, from the West Midlands, had been together for 18 years when they decided they wanted a family.

In 2011, they travelled to India and agreed a contract with a clinic in Delhi where Mr Hill's sperm was used to fertilise an egg from a donor they had selected, and the resulting embryo was implanted in a surrogate mother.

When the twins were born there was an "awkward moment" before the surrogate mother agreed to hand them over, as her husband had been telling medical staff the infants were his own.

"She was reminded that it was a deal and she was fine. She was a little bit too attached and she needed to be reminded," Mr Busher said. "We produced the contract and we were able to take them out of the hospital. We were so happy our feet didn't touch the ground."

source

by on Dec. 29, 2012 at 9:00 AM
Replies (11-20):
candlegal
by Judy on Dec. 29, 2012 at 12:00 PM
1 mom liked this

Icky is a good word for this.

Quoting TruthSeeker.:

 I find it kind of icky. Renting a womb for compensation and not because you really want to help a childless couple? This just doesn't sit well with me, esp after the poster posted about the documentary she watched.


JanuaryBaby06
by Bronze Member on Dec. 29, 2012 at 1:04 PM
2 moms liked this

this is disgusting.

gludwig2000
by Gina on Dec. 29, 2012 at 7:59 PM
3 moms liked this

 Well, we can all tell that they aren't like the women here in the USA who do it ONLY because they want to help that poor infertile couple, right? The real problem here, imo, lies in whether or not they understand the idea of surrogacy, and if so, whether they are doing it with their own free will, and not being pressured into the surrogacy by family looking for a pay day. There are many, many poor in India, and if a woman is willing and completely understands what she is under taking, than I see nothing wrong with it. Although the practices mentioned in the documentary are disgusting, and should not be happening.

MeAndTommyLee
by Platinum Member on Dec. 29, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Truly disgusting and sad, but their snobs asses will justify the hell out of it because they truly believe they are better than everyone else, have all the answers and do no wrong.  Anyone that has no medical reason for being unable to carry their own child should NOT be parents at all.  Chrissakes you can't take time out from your greed-obsessed career to give birth to child?  Too vein to carry your own child; or perhaps having difficulty `fitting the birth' into their schedule is too much for them.  Then when the baby arrives to them with a bow wrapped around him/her like a delivery from Neiman-Marcus, the nanny takes over -- and God/Allah/nobody knows that good (underpaid slavery) is hard to find.

Quoting 12hellokitty:

Interesting how rich white liberals want to push birth control on women in poor countries like India find it perfectly moral to exploit these same poor women into giving birth for money.  

 


mamaBerg85
by Member on Dec. 29, 2012 at 8:16 PM
There r too many kids in this world that need homes if u can't make a baby then adopt. This is just how I feel!


Quoting UpSheRises:

I wish i had the money for a surrogate.


Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
Sisteract
by Whoopie on Dec. 29, 2012 at 8:19 PM

We often get multiples born to surrogates here  for Japanese couples. A couple recently backed out of 24 week, critically twins born to a contracted surrogate. Luckily, a family was found for those preterm infants- And you know who picks up the cost for that, right?

mamaBerg85
by Member on Dec. 29, 2012 at 8:20 PM
Its like human breading. Shit its almost a human puppy mill because these ladies have no clue what is going on. I wonder if some of these women have ever made a baby much less had sex before their whomb was rented.


Quoting candlegal:

Icky is a good word for this.

Quoting TruthSeeker.:

 I find it kind of icky. Renting a womb for compensation and not because you really want to help a childless couple? This just doesn't sit well with me, esp after the poster posted about the documentary she watched.



Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
Erinelizz
by Bronze Member on Dec. 29, 2012 at 8:25 PM
Ugh, that's heartbreaking. Sounds like these women are nothing more than incubators.


Quoting jaxTheMomm:

I saw a documentary about this a year or so ago.  It focused on one doctor's facility in India.  She said the women must have had at least one previous successful pregnancy, the support of their husbands, and they must live there at the facility throughout the pregnancy.  Imagine roomfulls of cots and bordom.  She doesn't allow the women to labor and deliver - when the due date arrives, she sedates them and performs a c-section.

One of the women followed throughout her pregnancy stated she knew the baby she was carrying wasn't hers, yet loved it and bonded, and was sad at the thought of never seeing this child.

When her date arrived, during the c-section, the camera focused on her face.  Half conscious, moaning, body moving back and forth as the doctor performed the surgery.  Nobody holding her hand or encouraging her.

Then it's done.  The infant is immediately taken to a different wing of the hospital to be handed over as soon as deemed healthy.

The mom heals then goes home.  This young woman just looked so sad and a bit traumatized.  A few months later, she and her husband were interviewed in the home they'd built with the money she'd earned, money they could have never gotten otherwise.  It sort of looked like a lower income western style tract house placed in the middle of a dump.  The husband said that maybe "they" would do it again soon so they'd have all the funds they needed to put their son into private school.

The woman just stared at the floor.

There was something disturbing about the whole process. My first thought was, anybody with the cash could do this. 



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LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Dec. 29, 2012 at 8:29 PM
5 moms liked this
I'm not white. Please try to include all skin tones in your attempts to insult The Liberal.

Quoting 12hellokitty:

Interesting how rich white liberals want to push birth control on women in poor countries like India find it perfectly moral to exploit these same poor women into giving birth for money.  


Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Dec. 29, 2012 at 8:30 PM
1 mom liked this

 They should just make commercial surrogates allowable in the UK.

I honestly dont think there is anything wrong with surrogacy.  Make it safer and less exploitive for women.

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