Selected news stories from the international press relating to Asian (In)Fertilities:
'I will wish my babies a long life … in Britain with their parents' - London Evening Standard
(21 May 2009)
Jaspreet Kaur needs the money. With her husband's electronics business struggling financially, she has chosen to “rent out” her womb to a London couple desperate for a baby.
She is not alone. Thousands of Indian women are queuing up to cash in on the country's booming surrogate baby business. Jaspreet has a son of her own but the promise of £4,000 to give birth to another couple's child should put her family on a secure footing for years. “We badly need the money to survive. I will make enough money to help my husband in his business and ensure we have food and clothing and that our son is safe and healthy,” said Jaspreet, 24. “At the same time we are helping others. Obviously, if we had millions of rupees we would not have to do this, but we must.” We meet outside the Delhi IVF & Fertility Research Centre, a clinic in Bengali Market, New Delhi, “opposite Nathu's Sweets” as its website helpfully points out. Beneath the clinic sign — proclaiming it “The Birthplace of Joy” and displaying a huge photograph of a smiling baby — we are joined by Jaspreet's husband Jaswinder and Satish Sidhu, an Ilford retailer. He and his wife Narinder, both 39, have spent 15 years trying to have a baby. They have come to the clinic as a last resort, spending at least £15,000 having embryos from Narinder's eggs fertilised by Satish's sperm implanted in Jaspreet's womb. “I just dream that someone will one day call me Dad,” said Satish. “I really believe our luck is about to change.” His and his wife's fortunes now rest with Jaspreet and the technicians and doctors at the clinic. It is a business transaction, pure and simple. Satish gives Jaspreet the money (via the clinic) and in return Jaspreet will carry their child for nine months. Jaspreet is clearly not some impoverished woman from the slums who could be taken advantage of. University-educated and from a middle-class Indian family, she speaks impeccable English and is clearly well-informed. “I have a son and he is the joy of our lives,” she said. “I want this couple from the UK to have the same joy. There is nothing strange about me doing this. I talked it over with my mother-in-law and she gave me her blessing and since then I have been very determined. “Of course there will be some people who will criticise me. But my husband is here at the clinic beside me and he is very happy we have found a way to help ease our financial problems. “We are both aged just 24 and after this business is over, we can look forward to having more children as brothers and sisters for our son. Once the pregnancy is over, we will carry on with our lives and maybe our fortunes will change.” She shows no concern that she might form an emotional attachment to the baby and have trouble handing it over. Neither is she “scared about the pain”. “When I carry this baby for the London couple, they will not be my babies,” she said. “I will wish them a long and happy life, but they belong in the UK with their parents. “There is nothing wrong and nothing illegal about what I am doing. I don't really care what people might think. Thousands of other women in India have been surrogate mothers. It is not for me to judge why people have to come to India. But there are many poor people in this country and when they come, they help us by giving us money. “I believe good brings good. It will be good for the Sidhus and hopefully good for us.” Certainly Satish is not entering this arrangement lightly. But he and his wife have explored all the avenues, finally bringing them to the heat and dust of Delhi, a little over 4,000 miles from home. Satish explained: “My wife and I have been married for 17 years and trying for a child for 15 years. “It has been a very difficult period for us, particularly as the doctors just cannot fully establish why my wife cannot get pregnant. We have just never been lucky.” The couple first came to the clinic, run by Dr Anoop Gupta, a few months ago. Narinder donated her eggs and Satish his sperm. They will learn in the coming weeks if the implantation, which Satish has come back to Delhi to witness, is successful. “The cost doesn't matter and to be honest, I haven't really worked it out yet. I just want to be a dad and give my wife a child,” said Satish. “Some family friends from the Punjab told my grandmother to make sure we came here after they had success in getting a baby. “When we came to see Dr Gupta he was kind enough to find Jaspreet for me. She is a nice woman and more importantly, she is young and healthy and also a Punjabi, which I suppose helps as we speak the same language. “Her husband and I really get on and we have been to lunch a few times to chat about things. They see it as a business arrangement and there is no danger that she will get emotionally attached to our baby if she gets pregnant, as she has a child of her own.” Now Satish and Narinder must wait. Each attempt will cost them money. The quicker Jaspreet or another surrogate gets pregnant the cheaper it will be. It is fingers crossed from now on,” said Satish. “Within a few weeks, we will know whether we are going to be parents. I am pretty excited; I have seen it work for so many other people and they are all happy, healthy families.” The Sidhus are not unusual. The Delhi clinic alone estimates it has delivered about 350 surrogate babies to British couples over seven years, its numbers increasing every year as word of mouth spreads. Yesterday the Standard revealed how a white couple from London became the parents of twins carried by an Indian surrogate — thanks to a “baby factory” in Gujarat. One obstetrician in Mumbai claimed to deliver a baby to a British couple every 48 hours. The Delhi IVF & Fertility Research Centre is clearly enjoying a boom. Inside, dozens of women are crowding onto the benches with barely enough room to move. Pictures of happy couples with their children adorn the walls, at odds with the anxious women sitting there hoping for news that they or a surrogate are pregnant. “It is a pretty depressing atmosphere, everybody looks so sad and fed up,” said a childless women in her mid-thirties. “But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Everywhere you look are photographs of people who have had twins and have found happiness here. That is why I am here.”