Saturday, September 06, 2014

Why do some IVF clinics jail their surrogates ?

Lots of IVF clinics do surrogacy today . The medical treatment itself is fairly straightforward , and is quite profitable , so there’s lots of competition amongst Indian surrogacy clinics.

Many IVF clinics will provide accommodation for their surrogates. These are grandly called surrogate homes . but these are usually 1-2 small rooms in a boarding house, where lots of the surrogate mothers are provided with lodging and boarding until they give birth.

The purpose is to provide them with medical supervision during the pregnancy, to ensure it progresses uneventfully. However, many doctors refuse to allow the surrogate mother to leave this boarding room, even if there is a medical emergency in  their family. They are so strict that they insist that the surrogate sign a document agreeing to this.

This might make a lot of sense for the doctor; and for the intended parents, who are reassured that the surrogate is being housed in a clean environment.

The problem is that these surrogate homes often function as jails. The surrogates are locked up here, away from their families, and all they can do is watch TV all day long.

Their family – including their own children are allowed to visit them only during well-defined times – a few hours every week.

Now I understand that it is important to provide the surrogate with appropriate nutritional supplementation and medical care , but I think this is carrying things a bit too far . She is not a slave who needs to be locked up – she is a mother who has children who need her love and attention. Is it fair to deprive them of this ?

She is a grown-up adult who has a family ; who has children ; and who has been pregnant before . She knows her responsibilities , and it's extremely unfair that she is treated in this fashion just because she is being paid.

It is these kind of practices which end up giving surrogacy a bad name . We need to respect the surrogates and treat them as intelligent adults who are making well-informed decisions . Their interests are aligned with those of the doctor and the intended parent, because they also want to hand over the baby to the infertile couple after birth.  It’s not fair to bully the surrogate like this.

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