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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Educated women become surrogate moms for money

CHENNAI: When Ananya* was six months pregnant, her husband abandoned her. Burdened by debt and a baby to care for, she came to Chennai in search of work after her son was born. But earning 10,000 a month as the administrative staff at of a private company was not sufficient to repay her loans. So Ananya, a postgraduate in zoology, took a bold step. She rented her womb.

Ananya is among the handful of educated women who are now coming forward to become surrogate mothers. It's no longer the illiterate and poor who opt to become surrogate mothers - a considerable number of educated women like Ananya are taking the step for monetary reasons.

"My ex-husband was unemployed. He sold all my gold and made me take a lot of loans while we were married, which I had to pay off even after he left me," says Ananya. "I had heard of surrogacy, and I decided to give it a try." She read spent hours reading about surrogacy on the net, contacted local hospitals and finally settled for GG Hospital as she felt comfortable with the doctors there. After a thorough health checkup and counselling, Ananya she underwent the medical procedure in October 2013. On June 8, 2014, she delivered a healthy baby boy who was handed over to the biological parents. With the 4 lakh that she was paid, Ananya managed to settle a big part of her debt.

With expert medical care, greater availability of surrogates and mushrooming IVF clinics, people from across the country and abroad are heading to Chennai looking for wombs on rent. "With more than 30 IVF centres, Chennai is a hub for surrogacy," says Dr Thankam Varma, medical director, Institute of Reproductive Medicine and Women's Health, Madras Medical Mission.

According to fertility expert Dr Priya Selvaraj, with Chennai emerging as a medical destination, the fertility industry has got a boost. "People who come down to treat other ailments also check out fertility clinics and go for consultations," she says.


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