Infertility is a social problem in our country. Childless women face many social taboos in addition to being harassed by their families. This of course, is seen not only among the illiterate and the financially oppressed, but also among the wealthiest families. Why else would a woman go through years and years of endless research and treatment just to have a child? Why wouldn’t she just adopt a child to satisfy her maternal instinct? The inability to conceive makes a woman feel that she is to blame, although we know that the husband is equally responsible in 50% of cases! The desire to have a child is so great that women undergo all kinds of therapy and exhaust them physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially.
Surrogacy is the latest addition to the battery of treatments available to our infertile couples today. When a woman has a nonfunctional uterus or absent uterus problem (from birth or after hysterectomy), she can now opt for surrogacy. So even though a woman has reached the age of 40 and doesn’t have a uterus, she can still have her own biological baby implanted in a surrogate mother. A surrogate mother is a young woman who carries another partner’s baby into the womb, delivers the baby, and delivers it to her. Of course, it is not as simple as it sounds. It involves a highly skilled and technical process of aspirating the biological mother’s eggs from her ovaries, fertilizing them with the biological father’s sperm creating an embryo within a highly specialized laboratory, and transferring the embryo to the artificially prepared lining of the surrogate’s uterus.
The pregnant surrogate mother goes through the pregnancy with all the support, nutrition, vitamins, and needs are well taken care of by the biological couple together with their gynecologist. The surrogate mother goes through the inconvenience of a nine-month pregnancy and perhaps its complications and also suffers from labor pains. Once the baby is born, the surrogate responsibility ends and the birth mother takes over. There are many legal problems involved. Therefore, a contract is signed between the two sets of parents before the start of treatment.
Fortunately in India, substitutes are readily available. Within a family, a woman is always ready to please her sister, sister-in-law, and loved ones, also known as altruistic surrogacy. But outside of families too, substitutes are available for a price, known as commercial surrogacy. In addition to earning money, substitutes have the feeling of satisfaction that they were able to help another person in their fraternity become a mother. This combination of low socioeconomic status with added value “noble gesture” has made surrogacy very popular in India. For a woman who chooses to become a surrogate, it gives her a sudden financial boost she wouldn’t dream of for years together! It gives him a certain status in his family, because now he is generating income. Bring a smile on everyone’s face, the biological parents, the surrogate mother, and the doctors! However, the Surrogacy Act (2019) passed in the Lok Sabha seeks to prohibit commercial surrogacy in India, but allows altruistic surrogacy. The bill has yet to be enacted by Parliament.
Couples who benefit from surrogacy are women who are born with a missing uterus or who have lost the uterus due to surgery that failed to save the uterus. Women who have had repeated miscarriages or who have suffered repeated IVF failures also choose surrogacy. Similarly, women who do not have medical permission to become pregnant, or who have a serious heart problem or severe kidney disease, also benefit from surrogacy.
The science of human reproduction has progressed at an unimaginable rate! The healthcare sector in India has kept abreast of all these developments and can offer the best healthcare services available anywhere in the world. Assisted reproductive technology (ART) has truly revolutionized the concept of having a baby. The success of an infertility clinic really lies in the art of ART!