Booster shot for surrogate moms

Surrogate mothersa_0.jpg

Chennai: Renting out her womb,  Prema of Vyasarpadi delivered a baby boy and was overjoyed on receiving Rs 2 lakh from his biological parents.
But this surrogate mother’s dream of using the money to make a better life for herself and her family dissolved into nothing as  her husband took it all  and disappeared after rushing off to a nearby Tasmac shop for a celebratory drink. Prema was forced to go back to doing menial jobs with all her hopes of educating her two sons dashed.
With commercial surrogacy now a fact of life in India, Global - Surrogate Mothers Advancing Rights Trust (G-SMART) was launched in the city on Friday to come to the aid of women like Prema who lose out despite carrying someone else’s child for nine months in the hope of a better future for their own children. “We are planning to address the physical, emotional and mental health of surrogate mothers by providing them with counselling and guidance in ways to use the money they get  to safeguard their future,” said Mr A. J. Hariharan, trustee, G-SMART, revealing that about 50,000 couples used surrogate mothers in a year in India.
Community medicine specialist, Dr Jaya Shreedhar, who spoke on the occasion, said as commercial surrogacy had come to stay in the country, civic society must do more to assure the rights of the surrogate mothers. “Assisted reproduction is an important part of medical tourism, which is growing in India due to cheaper clinical costs. While having a child through a surrogate mother costs about ` 80 lakh in the West, in India it costs between ` 1 lakh to ` 5 lakh. The present status is highly exploitative.
The whole fertility business is fuelled by desperation and in the melee surrogate mothers tend to get left behind. More NGOs like Indian Community Welfare Organization need to come forward to counsel and create awareness among them about their rights,” she stressed.

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