Aamir-Kiran's best-kept secret!

Aamir Khan and wife Kiran Rao welcomed their baby boy on December 1. The impending arrival of the baby was well-guarded

What can easily be called the most well-kept secret, Aamir Khan and wife Kiran became proud parents of a baby boy on December 1. The fact that the star declared the happy news with great pride and honesty is quite laudable.

The baby was born through IVF - surrogacy. Announcing the news yesterday, Aamir sent us a letter, which states, "It gives us the greatest joy to share with you the good news of the birth of our baby boy.

This baby is especially dear to us because he was born to us after a long wait and some difficulty. Due to medical complications, we were advised to have a baby through IVF - surrogacy and we feel very grateful to the Almighty that everything has gone well.

We are humbled by the greatness of God, the miracles of science, and the kindness and love of our families and friends in being there for us while respecting our privacy.

The letter and the box of chocolates that accompanied it

We seek your good wishes and blessings for our child." Aamir, from his first marriage. has two children, Junaid (18) and Ira (11).

Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a woman carries and delivers a child for another couple or person. This woman may be the child's genetic mother (called traditional surrogacy), which is deemed illegal in India under the ICMR ART guidelines of 2005, or she may carry the pregnancy to delivery after having an embryo, to which she has no genetic relationship whatsoever, transferred to her uterus (called gestational surrogacy) which is the norm under good medical practices or GMP.

If the pregnant woman received compensation for carrying and delivering the child (besides medical and other reasonable expenses) the arrangement is called a commercial surrogacy, otherwise the arrangement is sometimes referred to as an altruistic surrogacy (which happens with a sibling helping out with carrying the baby in her womb). The ICMR guidelines approve altruistic surrogacy if the gestational surrogate belongs to the same generation.

The social parents (that is, those that intend to raise the child) may arrange a surrogate pregnancy because of homosexuality, female infertility, or other medical issues, which may make the pregnancy or delivery impossible, risky or otherwise undesirable.

The social mother could also be fertile and healthy, and prefer the convenience of someone else undergoing pregnancy, labour, and delivery for her; albeit the ICMR guidelines do not approve of these social indications. The intended parent could also be a single man or woman wishing to have his/her own biological child.

Commercial surrogacy is allowed in India, under the Indian Council For Medical Research formulated ART guidelines of 2005.

India is emerging as a leader in international surrogacy and a destination in surrogacy-related fertility tourism. Indian surrogates have been increasingly popular with fertile couples in industrialised nations because of the relatively low cost.

Clinics charge patients between Rs 10 Lacs and Rs 15 Lacs for the complete package, including fertilization, the surrogate's fee, and delivery of the baby at a hospital.
Including the costs of flight tickets, medical procedures and hotels, it comes to roughly a fifth of the price compared with going through the procedure in the USA where the fees are around USD 150,000.

Gautam Allahbadia MD, DNB, FNAMS

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