As actor Aamir Khan and his filmmaker wife Kiran Rao welcomed their first baby after resorting to in vitro fertilization (IVF) surrogacy, the process which remains a grey area has once again came come under the spotlight. According to IVF specialists in the city, only about 5 per cent of couples opt for surrogacy and the main reason behind it is that few women come forward as surrogate mothers.
Proud parents: Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao recently had a baby
delivered by a surrogate mother
MiD DAY spoke to one such city-based surrogate mother, who has so far had two unsuccessful fertilisation procedures for a couple and is now giving it a third and final shot. "This couple approached me through a doctor and I was supposed to be carry their baby. As I was going through immense financial crisis, I have accepted the agreement of growing their baby in my womb and will return back to them once I deliver it," she said.
If this third attempt also proves unsuccessful, she said she would go for other patients as rules limit the number of tries with the same patient to three. The 30-year-old woman, who has a six-year-old child of her own, said it was not easy for her to take the decision to be a surrogate mother. It was her dream to have a house of her own in the city that prompted her to take the decision to grow someone else's child in her womb at the risk of her own life.
"It wasn't easy for me to convince my husband but I told him that it will not only give us the huge lump sum amount but also the satisfaction that I can fill happiness in someone's life," she said. She admitted that it would affect her when the time came to give the patients the baby after growing it for nine months in her womb.
The surrogate mother and her husband are aware of the risks that they face during the pregnancy.
"I know that I am playing with my wife's life by allowing her to become a surrogate mother, but I don't have any other choice as we can't afford decent lifestyle in our limited means," her husband said. Joint Secretary of National Integrated Medical Association Dr Mandar Ranade, who is a gynecologist, said, "We recommend the option of surrogacy to only 5 per cent of patients who approach us. Although the awareness among people has increased, the misconceptions about surrogacy keep them away from adopting this method."
Dr Ranade added that India did not have laws regulating surrogacy. As of now, guidelines formulated by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in 2005 are followed by city-based doctors. Dr Ranade also stated that in surrogacy most deliveries are done by cesarean, which increase the life risk if the surrogate mothers are above 35.
Dr Meenu Agarwal of Morpheus ART Fertility Center said, "Surrogate mothers who approach us are mainly from the lower strata (of society). There are very few professional surrogate mothers in the city. Therefore, we advise the patients to search among their acquaintances for someone who will be ready to be a surrogate mother for their child."