Economic and legal issues are pushing hundreds of western couples to look overseas when considering surrogate motherhood, and India has become the number one most affordable surrogacy destination.
Surrogacy has become the latest trend in the well-established outsourcing relationship between the West and India.
India’s doctors say the demand for surrogate services is rapidly growing, with the majority of interest coming from overseas.
One reason is that Indian surrogacy costs roughly one quarter the price of similar services in Western countries.
RT spoke to Eric and Susan Freudenthal, a couple from Texas, who came to India to meet their new baby.
“Around 10 years ago we decided we would try to have a child and, it didn't happen naturally… We had pretty much given up hope and we spent a bunch of money. That’s when we realized that Indian surrogacy was something that was reasonable,” Eric says.
The average cost of surrogacy in India is 25,000 dollars, and the surrogate mother gets between six and eight thousand out of that sum. For many surrogate mothers, this amount is equal to 10 years' worth of wages.
However, there is a strong ethical issue here, as many see the low Indian costs as facilitating the exploitation of women who are vulnerable due to their poor economic situation and difficult living circumstances.
“Because women are poor and available, because they have the challenge to survive and just for survival they have to sell their womb – and here are people who are exploiting it,” Indian doctor Ranjana Kumari told RT.
But for Eric and Susan, the issue is not so black and white. They are leaving India with their new baby boy Peter, the child they waited for for years.