After five years of marriage, Arjun and Aarti Sahu (names changed) were about to give up trying to get a baby.
Despite years of treatment procedures, the couple from Mumbai's northern suburb Goregaon had been unable to have a child.
Aarti had suffered premature ovarian failure, a condition in which egg production stops prematurely. Their family doctor suggested a surrogate mother, but the question was, who would do it?
Her sister offered her womb. Two years later, Aarti is the proud mother of a baby girl.
Surrogacy is soaring in India, with the number of surrogate mothers nearly doubling in a year.
In 2006, 290 surrogacy cases were reported compared to 158 in 2005. In 2004, there were 50-odd cases, according to data collected from 116 fertility centres in a study which will be released in Mumbai on September 20.
A copy of the findings of the National ART (artificial reproductive techniques) Registry of India (NARI) survey, conducted by the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) and the Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction, is available with Hindustan Times.
Doctors say that besides affluent Indian couples, non-resident Indians and foreigners are heading for India.
“Surrogacy is more acceptable now. Besides, it is cheaper in India. But with more IVF clinics coming up, it is necessary to bring in regulatory laws that promote surrogacy but protect women's rights,” said Dr Jaideep Malhotra, senior FOGSI member.
According to the data, Gujarat recorded the highest number of surrogacy at nearly 110 cases with the eastern region contributing the least.
FOGSI hasn’t revealed state-wise details for reasons of confidentiality.