Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Surrogates from India, the WBP and the Huffington Post

Our founding director, Kathryn Hinsch is quoted on the Beth Kohl's Huffington Post blog, voicing her concern over the exploitation of women in India, ending up on the short end of the surrogacy stick. Kohl writes about "reproductive tourism" at the The Akanksha Infertility Clinic located in Anand, India in the Gujarat State: "To be clear, these are professional surrogates, local women who receive decent medical care and detailed contracts...Using a gestational surrogate in the U.S. can cost $50,000 and up. But an Akanksha surrogate costs only $5,000. The surrogates at Akanksha earn more than 100,000 rupees ($2,250 U.S.) per pregnancy, a massive amount compared to the average daily income of five dollars. Some people consider this a win-win situation..."

After speaking with Hinsch, Kohl writes: "Hinsch also voiced concern over the long term health implications of carrying another person's genetic matter, pointing to the fact that women who gestate even genetically-related multiple boys have increased risks for autoimmune problems, the genetic difference between the male and female of the species being enough to upset our natural physical make up. So what is the physical impact of carrying a non-related fetus? How is that risk compounded when carried out repeatedly which may happen at a place as well-managed as Akanksha in a developing region like Gujarat, India?"

Kohl has immense stores of sympathy for infertile couples and recognizes that there is a cost-effectiveness that is appealing to these couples -- I like the way she concludes, proceeding with caution, taking nothing for granted: "The act of bringing forth life, no matter whose constituent parts, no matter whose uterus or birth canal, is far too complicated to isolate it from history or the world as it is."

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