Surrogacy as a 'booming business' is a paradox in an emotionally driven society like India. The concept of 'renting a womb' may touch the nerve of a conservative society since it shakes the patriarchal ideology of 'motherhood'. Medindia interviewed Jamila (named changed) to find out if surrogacy challenges 'motherly instinct' or if surrogacy is genuinely a humane service that renders answers to the prayers of childless couples around the world? Jamila carries the offspring of the intended parents, placed in her womb through a fertility procedure called IVF-ET (In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer).
Q. Is this your first pregnancy?
AdvertisementA: As a surrogate, yes this is my first time, but I already have a son with my husband. Only women who have children of their own can volunteer to be surrogate mothers.
Q. How is the surrogacy experience different from your previous pregnancy?
A: Strange. My elder sister is childless and I'm doing it for her. She is diabetic and has complications getting pregnant.
Q. Has she considered adoption?
A: When it comes to adoption, the child will not be her bloodline. Plus adoption involves a difficult process.
Q. Since you are carrying the baby how is the child not yours or your blood?
A: No, the child belongs to them, their blood and I cannot make claims on the child. The baby will not be mine.
Q. How did you come to know about surrogacy? What was your family's reaction?
A: My brother-in-law's (intended parent) friend recommended and my relatives also accepted it, since I was doing it for my sister.
Q. You are doing it for your sister, what if someone outside the family requested you? Would you offer to be a surrogate mother?
A: Why wouldn't I! If I can do it for my sister, I would do it for any childless couple.
Q: Since you are pregnant for your sister, you will be meeting the child, probably during family occasions. Won't you be drawn to the child?
A: No, we do not meet at all. I will have no connection with the child. They live in altogether a different place.
Q. Are you getting paid or are you doing it for free?
A. The payment was negotiated with my husband and he will get the money. I don't know how much was charged. He deals with the payment procedure.
Q. How different is the medical treatment from your first pregnancy? Where are you staying? Does your husband get to visit you?
A: I stay in an apartment with my second sister here in Chennai, I come from another State. My husband visits me and he even stayed with me twice. But I'm away from my family during the pregnancy phase.
Q. Is your pregnancy going to normal or cesarean?
A: My first delivery was a cesarean, so the second will also be a cesarean.
Q. Were you counseled? Was surrogacy explained to you? What if there are going to be any complications? What then?
A: My family spoke to me; the doctor counseled and even the intended parents met with me. Only if something comes up. But I am well taken care of.
Q. Do you want to have more children?
A: Yes. I already have a son and we would like to have one more. Once the financial condition is stable we will have one more child.
Q. Are you really happy being a surrogate mother? Wouldn't you get emotional when you have to give the child away?
A: No. I am very happy to be pregnant for my sister and I would gladly and wholeheartedly do it for other childless couples too.
The interview with the surrogate mother was an intriguing experience. Throughout the interview the surrogate mother was cheerful, co-operative and threw light on renting-a-womb from a surrogate's point of view. Medindia wished her well.