Paying a woman to carry a child is illegal in Australia, the UK, and several other countries. Even where it is allowed, it costs and arm and a leg. And that’s why commercial surrogacy is a thriving business in India. Infertile couples all over the world are now looking to Indian women to help them have their babies. Indian surrogacy clinics provide an economical alternative for childless couples and in return, the money that these surrogate mothers from poor backgrounds receive is helping them build their life. It’s a win-win situation really, if you choose to look at it that way.
Akanksha Infertility Clinic, located in the small town of Anand in Gujarat State, is one of the top places for commercial surrogacy in India. A surrogacy package here costs about $30,000, from which about $8,000 is given to the surrogate. Given that over one-third of the Indian population is extremely poor, there are plenty of women more than willing to bear children for others. The clinic has been in operation for the past 10 years, and over 700 surrogate babies have been delivered there so far. All the money earned from these treatments has hugely impacted the economic situation of the town and its surrounding areas.
30-year-old Neeta Makwara, who lives in the nearby village of Nadiad, has gone through surrogacy twice. In 2008, she gave birth to a baby boy for a foreign couple. And she had twins again in 2011. The first time around, her husband squandered all the money from the treatment. But Neeta was wiser the second time – she used the money to build a three-storey house. She’s even rented out the ground floor, so that earns her a bit of cash every month.