Couples and individuals have recently learned that India has now tossed up barriers to foreigners needing surrogacy services. India has ratcheted its rules and is now excluding people abroad from building their families. The impetus for such a bold decision is multilevel, including the global disapproval that local surrogates have been misused and exploited.
While a growing need for surrogates is in demand, India is trying to mandate stricter regulations. Announcing these decisions is the Indian Council of Medical Research.
People have found surrogacy in countries such as India attractive due to the low, competitive prices. But sadly, despite the low cost attraction the stability of surrogacy has been in a state of flux and is now completely shut down for foreigners.
This recent decision in India has affected many people around the world, including American citizens.
Joanna Sugden and Aditi Malhotra, of the Wall Street Journal, reported on a couple from Seattle, WA., who leaned on India in hopes of building their family. Doug Smith and Gea Bassett already have one child and yearn for another.
“Now the couple is scrambling to recover their frozen fertilized eggs from a Mumbai fertility clinic after the country’s recent move to bar foreigners from hiring surrogate mothers,” the reporters wrote.
Bassett, who is 37, calls her fertilized eggs, their babies. Her quotes to the reporters tug on heartstrings.
“We’re talking about probably carrying them in a cooler, putting them in a taxi, getting them into an airplane. Do we really know that they’re going to make it?” she told the Wall Street Journal.
The angst expressed among intended parents who relied on India has triggered a ripple of empathy around the world. The Wall Street Journal reporters also noted how the new regulations have jolted a shockwave of confusion among intended parents.
Nayana Patel, who is the current medical director at Akanksha Infertility Clinic in Gujarat, told reporters, “So many people are stranded.”
According to Patel, roughly 150 foreign couples were in the midst of an embryo transfer for their surrogate. Now, this has come to an abrupt halt.
While surrogacy in the United States is more costly, there is peace of mind for intended parents since some states such as California are considered surrogate friendly. For example, intended parents can receive right of parentage even if they are not genetically connected to their baby.
Additionally, surrogates in “green light surrogacy states” in the United States have no parental rights. These compassionate women are also medically screened, have undergone a psychological evaluation, and have ongoing support throughout their journey, have met with an attorney and understand their contract, and have insurance, including life insurance. Surrogates assume the risk of pregnancy so it’s important their families are well cared for.
Above all, these elite screened surrogates are mothers who have already given birth to a healthy child.
Bassett wanted the Wall Street Journal to know, “We’re heartbroken and we’re so sad.” She continued, “But we knew the risks that we were taking to step into this world and start this process.”
And we are sad for her and for all the other individuals facing so much uncertainty.