As an increasing number of women offer to become surrogate mothers in return for money, a thriving organised sector has emerged to market their wombs.
The sector now includes the whole gamut of services — from agencies devoted to recruiting potential surrogates and placing them with doctors and couples; biodata and legal services for women looking to becoming surrogates; websites serving as virtual markets for wombs and agencies that run hostels devoted to housing and taking care of surrogates during their pregnancies.
“The sector is very organised now,” said Dr Duru Shah, an obstetrician who consults at Breach Candy and Jaslok hospitals, and is a medical director of Gynaecworld, a clinic.
“There are specialised agencies that recruit women who might want to become surrogates,” she explained. “They even haggle with the doctors and clients on behalf of these women in an attempt to get the best price.”
Many agencies have sprung up in Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad over the past two years, doctors said.
They not only hire women, but offer services like drawing up legal contracts, providing supportive requirements, sprucing up the biodatas of prospective surrogates to make them marketable and then place them with doctors or clients.
But for women who prefer going it alone, there are websites that are like virtual markets. On a particular website, that claims to be Mumbai-based, for example, women can post their profiles. Infertile couples can browse through these, reads testimonials of other clients and get quotes on charges.
These biodatas find their way to doctors clinics. “Although I don’t practice surrogacy, many agents come to my office with biodatas,” said Dr Anjali Malpani of Malpani Infertility Clinic, Colaba. “Many biodatas read like those of people applying for corporate jobs. They provide details like education, family background, hobbies, compensation required, etc.”