Meet the mums who make Mother’s Day possible for others
We visited a surrogacy hostel in Delhi to know more about the life of the women who agree to be temporary mothers for the sake of money.Updated: May 13, 2018 12:03 IST
They leave their families behind to provide joys of motherhood to other women. These surrogate mothers, also known as supermums at their surrogacy centres, put their own life on pause when they rent out their wombs.
While couples who can’t have a biological kid otherwise are thankful to these women, they themselves are happy that surrogacy is a way to have a respectable life. “If it weren’t for surrogacy, we would have never been able to have a child. I couldn’t conceive because of a few medical problems, so we opted for surrogacy. If I celebrate Mother’s Day today, it is because of some woman who gave me this gift of a child. To me, she is God,” says a 37-year-old IT professional, not willing to be named.
However, for many surrogate mothers, “renting out the womb” is a means to “achieving a few dreams, such as buying an autorickshaw for the husband”. Surrogate mothers get about ₹3-3.5 lakhs after delivery, and about ₹15,000 a month till the due date.
“I have two kids and I want to give them the best education. I can’t afford it but this opportunity to rent out my womb is a great help,” says 33-year-old Misha, a single mom who lives with her brother. Another surrogate, Kanchan, says, “My husband doesn’t have a job. With the amount, we will buy an auto that will serve as a permanent source of income for us.” Four months pregnant Meera will use the money to build a house. “I always wanted my own house and this money will be invested to make one. This baby will give me what I always wanted,” she says.
All three of them stay in a surrogacy hostel in Uttam Nagar with five others surrogates and two caretakers. Strangers to each other when they first arrived here, the women are now friends, who share joys and sorrows. However, if there is anything that they don’t discuss, it is the surrogate baby that they are carrying.
“It is hard not to feel a connection to the baby. I can feel the kicks and movement inside me. But attachment will only bring pain, so, we choose not to talk about it. Once the baby is born, we can’t even see them,” says 31-year-old Mahima.
While the money at stake in lucrative, the stigma attached to “carrying someone’s baby” is an expected downside. So, they hide their pregnancies and live in isolation, away from their families and kids. “Whenever I feel low, I watch the film Vicky Donor (2012) and I feel great. I am taking money, but this baby will give a new meaning to someone’s life. I know the joys of motherhood,” says Mona.
Talking about the surrogacy process, Priti Gupta, Consultant, Fertility and IVF, says, “The process needs either egg from the mother or a sperm from the father to make the fertilised egg grow in someone else’s body. One biological connection has to be there. I deal with lots of parents who want babies. There was a case where the surrogate mother produced premature babies. The parents named them Audi and Mercedes. He said he named them so because he had to spend a huge amount of money on them,” says Gupta, laughing.
To deal with relatives and nosey neighbours, the women are ready with explanations. “We can’t hide it (the pregnancy) completely. What if we have to visit our home in an emergency? So, we are ready with an excuse. I have three daughters and some of my neighbourhood friends are aware that I am pregnant. I told them already that if another girl is born, I will give it to my sister, ” says Mona. Meanwhile, Meera says, “I will tell that the newborn could not survive. It is hard to even imagine that, but I am left with no options.”
Srikant Mishra, the man who provides surrogates to IVF doctors, started this service in 2013. “We provide surrogates, egg donors, and frozen sperms. People resort to surrogacy when they are left with no option and we help them,” says Mishra, who runs Fertility Donor Solutions in Uttam Nagar. As to how he finds surrogates, he says, “The surrogates need money for various reasons and, most of the time, they approach us. Sometimes, they apply online or someone brings them here,” he adds.
Certain checks are then run on the potential mother to ascertain the fitness level and the surrogates have to stay at the hostel. “Right from the food to medicines to doctor’s visit, we take care of them to ensure a healthy child is born. They can keep their kids under five years of age and meet their family members here,” says Mishra.
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