Saturday, March 13, 2010


The recent option gaining favour is to lease a healthy woman and implant the embryo of the couple with problem, fertilisd outside the wife’s uterus, inside the sponsoring woman’s uterus and make her go through the term to deliver a baby which she shall hand over to the couple even without seeing the face of the baby. All this is arranged with full legal support. The volunteers for this surrogate maternity are invariably very poor women who find this a way for earning some money( not very much though, upto Rs.50,000!) for the pain of gestation & labour.
People are understandably obsessed with having issue of their own “blood”. But the possible trauma of the surrogate mother about parting with her umbilical attachment is the issue that saddens me.
After delivery(even as labour starts) the mother's body experiences a host of harmonal changes. Lactation starts, along with it as the mother starts suckling the child the uterus starts shrinking to its original size which takes a few weeks. In the case of the surrogate mother if she is to part with the baby soon after delivering it without setting eyes on it what a hell she must suffer for stopping the lactation process! The swollen breasts if unrelieved can be very painful leading to development of fever and abscesses which may necessitate surgical removal. The milk would be expressed and medicine given to stop lactation! What an atrocity! These things if happened to a luckless woman whose baby died after birth one can get reconciled to it, with grief, of course. But having to undergo this hell for a few thousands of rupees, for the selfish desire of a couple is really not palatable.
So the "wise" laws behind this option & the media publicising this option cannot fail to fall under criticism from any sensitive,humane human being.
The baby is also a loser in this bargain. Colustrum in the mother’s first milk is full of antibodies vital for the baby’s resistance against infections & diseases.
The mother-grandmother feat which I also read in the news is also weird, leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Sister lending the womb is understandably a kind gesture. But strange poverty-stricken surrogate volunteers is a pitiable class making the practice a commercial transaction sans sentiment,ethics-a selfish, one-sided bargain. The practice stripped of any altruistic element will almost come to the same level as the oldest trade!
There are physical, mental, psychological complexities involved which should make couples opting for surrogation think well before deciding. If a woman consents to surrogate for monetary reason & not for altruism then it is purely commercialization of something-motherhood- which we have held precious, nay priceless, for centuries. That just rings in consonance with the trend of the era!
It is a matter of choices which childless couples of the past didn’t have. In olden times childless couples chose to remain so not willing to seek the simple solution of adoption, bearing with grit the “stigma” of issuelessness & the sadness of solitude. Because it is there in the psychology- an unwillingness to resort to widening the horizons of self & self’s own. It is a global atmosphere without inhibitions & restrictions of any nature. In such a liberal era people are bound to make different choices. There is no alarming social harm done. Surrogation is not a crime, quite a legally accepted procedure. But still it is not wrong to analyse such a decision, the effects of it-mental, physical & conjugal- on the parties involved.

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