Adoption or surrogacy? Bollywood’s choices reflect what the nation appears to want
For every adoptive mother like Sunny Leone or Sushmita Sen, there are several big names that choose to become parents through surrogacy. Nationally, too, adoption rates are falling, and we ask why.bollywood Updated: Jul 28, 2017 11:35 IST
Talk of children born through surrogacy and quite a few names from Bollywood spring to mind — Shah Rukh Khan’s youngest son AbRam, four; Aamir’s son Azaad, five; Tusshar Kapoor’s one-year-old son Laksshya; and twins just born to single dad Karan Johar, and also to celebrity comedian Krushna Abhishek and his wife, actor Kashmera Shah. This seems to be the in thing.
However, a different path has been taken by actor Sunny Leone, who recently adopted a 21-month-old girl. Hers is a relatively rare choice made by showbiz personalities. Earlier this year, TV actors Gurmeet Choudhary and wife Debina Bonnerjee adopted two girls from Bihar. But the only other well-known adoptive parents in Bollywood are actors Sushmita Sen and Raveena Tandon, and their adoptions happened years ago.
Do celebrities prefer surrogacy to adoption? Tusshar says, “I never chose anything over anything. I was always clear that I wanted my own child some day; maybe I will adopt, too some day.”
Kashmera, who revealed the news of her twins only a month after their birth, says that surrogacy was the very last option. “I tried a lot for the past two-three years, and we went through a lot of IVF (in vitro fertilisation) procedures, but failed. I had put on a lot of weight and went into depression, too. Eventually, we opted for surrogacy,” says the actor, adding that she wouldn’t have minded adoption.
Across the country, statistics provided by CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority) show that the rate of adoption is falling. From 5,693 adoptions in India in 2010, the number has dropped to 3,210 between April 2016 and April 2017.
Seema Khandekar, chairperson of a child welfare committee, former CARA counsellor and herself an adoptive parent, says that people want to adopt an infant (0-2 years), and very few such children are up for adoption. She adds, “There are kids waiting for families, but everyone is looking for a baby, as they feel it’s easier to teach them values and family traditions.” Couples choosing surrogacy, she adds, may be the result of wanting “their blood and genes” in the baby.
But for Gurgaon-based working mother Yashmeen Barua, Head of PR & Corporate Communication at a leading media company, who adopted two girls together in 2014, surrogacy looks like “a business” and she’s “not convinced and comfortable with the idea”. She says, “Adoption for us was a spontaneous decision. My husband and I had just gone to meet these girls (above two and three years of age) and give them some clothes and eatables — and their thoughts touched my heart.”
According to data available on CARINGS (Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System), as of May this year, 1,766 children are available for adoption, out of which 1,279 are with special needs; 339 are normal children above two years of age; 89 are siblings; and 59 are normal children below two years of age. Seema feels that more children would be adopted had there been greater awareness: “I don’t think most couples are properly counselled that adoption is an option open to all, including single men and women.”
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