Twenty-six-year-old Sushma is a mother of two but she has donated motherhood to six others - as an egg donor. And it has become a means of livelihood for her.
"My husband is a driver and it's very difficult for us to live comfortably with his income. To tackle this financial problem, I decided to become a surrogate mother," said Sushma, who has been doing this since 2005.
Advertisement"A couple from Kuwait was my first client but due to complications I could not conceive a baby for them. Since then, I have donated eggs to six people and it has helped them become parents," she told IANS.
Sushma, who has studied till Class 12, said she charges Rs.20,000 for donating eggs, which helps infertile women have a baby.
When asked why she was doing so, she replied: "Financial difficulties are definitely the major cause. Besides, if a couple can benefit by it, why should I hesitate?"
"No one in my family except my husband knows about it. Neither my in-laws, nor my kids have any idea. I don't have the courage to reveal it to them as it may create problems for my husband and me," she said, standing beside her spouse.
"People in our country are yet to accept the concept of egg donation and it's better to conceal it as long as possible to avoid stigma."
She said after donating her eggs, she feels psychologically hollow. "It feels as if I am giving away a part of my body to someone else. I do feel frustrated, but my husband has been helping me overcome it."
Sushma's husband Devender said they never try to know who is taking their egg. "We contacted the IVF Fertility Research Centre and all our work passes through Anoop Gupta, an infertility specialist."
The centre has two other women donors.
Alok Banerjee, an endocrinologist, said that a large number of people were going in for artificial insemination to have a baby, as infertility was a growing problem.
"Stress, environment, the age of women and even inefficient sperms are responsible for the growing incidence of infertility in our population," said Banerjee, who is working at the IVF Fertility Research Centre.
He explained that infertile couples could have a baby through fertilisation of both of their sperm and egg in a test tube in a laboratory.
"A fertile female can donate eggs and it can be fertilised by bringing it in contact with the male sperm of the infertile couple. After the foetus is formed in laboratory condition, it is placed inside the infertile woman's womb.
"Surrogacy is another way of having a baby. In surrogacy, another woman holds the baby in her womb," he explained.