After the central government put out a circular on November 4, banning foreigners from availing surrogacy in India, a group of surrogate mothers appealed the apex court, calling the change “discriminatory”, “having projected surrogacy in a very negative light”.
The means to build a house, send children to good schools, make sure their future is secure, earn a proper living –these were the motivations of the six women who approached the Supreme Court appealing the proposed new restrictive surrogacy laws in the country, that would crack down on the vast commercial fertility industry. Speaking to dna, four of the six women vocally opposed these laws, saying that they were happy with the services they provided, the returns they got, yet no one would hear them out.After the central government put out a circular on November 4, banning foreigners from availing surrogacy in India, a group of surrogate mothers appealed the apex court, calling the change “discriminatory”, “having projected surrogacy in a very negative light”. In the petition filed to the court, the women said that it cannot be “equated that surrogates are ready to rent their wombs at any costs or for any reasons.” They argued that the existing Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) guidelines were “sufficient” to check the well being of the surrogates, and had “ethical binding” on clinics. Prabha*, Anu*, Sabina*, Saba*, currently work with SCI healthcare, whose team, led by Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour, on their website claim to be “one of the largest and most experienced IVF/surrogacy providers in India”. They claim that on hearing about the ban on foreigners in the news, they banded together and approached their handler at SCI to do something about it. Thus they got in touch with lawyers Vishnu Sharma and Radhika Thapar, to file the appeal on their behalf.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to dna at the SCI office, all four stated that their current lives were far better because of surrogacy. From working 12-hour thankless shifts in factories to eke out a basic living, to being able to live with their families and have all needs provided for, all four said they were happy with their lot. “And we can help other families become parents, that makes us feel good,” said Sabina, who was a surrogate for an American couple two years ago, and has come back for a second round.Saba recounted her long unending shifts at a factory in Delhi’s industrial area. As did Prabha, who too worked in a factory doing “packing” work. “We couldn’t be with our children all day long. Where would we leave them? You don’t know where they’ve been,” said Prabha, who now has both her daughters and her husband living with her in a surrogate home provided by the clinic. All four live in individual rooms in this home, along with their families, near the clinic with a “social worker” who takes care of them. They receive Rs3.5 lakh for the surrogacy, and pay no rent or bills. “The kind of medical care we get now, with regular check ups, we didn’t have when we had our own children,” said Sabina. “They give us a check-up even if we have a cough and we don’t have to pay for any of our medicines,” added Saba. “People have been saying we have been forced or tricked into this. Media has been writing false stories about us,” said Saba. “But I would like to come back again after a few years to have another baby. We’re doing this on our own and our husbands and families support us.”*Names changed to protect identity We are happy: Sabina All four claimed to have a thorough knowledge of what they’d taken on, and said that the clinic had helped them understand all the entire procedure and all that it entailed. Said Sabina, “If other women are being forced into surrogacy at other places, we’ll raise our voices for them. But we are happy with what we’re doing and the government shouldn’t stop this work.”