Google Babies: The Business of Outsourcing Surrogacy to India
By Stephanie Guler - Senior Content & Social Media Developer | June 29th, 2011
Our society’s internet obsession has changed the way we do everything.
Need to find a restaurant? Google it. Book a plane ticket? Google it. Learn Shakespeare? Google it.
Google seems to be the answer to all of our problems, and it’s the driving force behind the success of all e-businesses. Today you can literally find, make, do and learn anything you want on Google; and now, you can even make a baby.
That’s right. Living, breathing, crying babies are being “created” with the help of the internet, and surrogacy in India.
Israeli filmmaker Zippi Brand Frank produced and directed a newly released HBO documentary, aptly titled, Google Baby, about the commercialization of egg donation and surrogacy between the United States, Israel and India.
While infertility treatments like in-vitro fertilization and surrogacy have been widely used for many years, these procedures can be very pricey. Some couples pay up to $140,000 to have children with a surrogate mother in the United States, while in India, the same process costs about 75 percent less.
To avoid the high costs, and in some cases, legal issues, of surrogacy, many people are now “outsourcing” this process in order to conceive a child at a more reasonable price.
Doron Mamet is one of those people. After the expensive surrogate birth of his daughter in the United States, Mr. Mamet used his international business skills to start Tammuz, a company that assists couples in expanding their families with surrogacy, which is the inspiration behind Director Frank’s Google Baby documentary.
The way it works is, either donated sperm or eggs (and sometimes both) are purchased online, in the same way you would buy a pair of shoes or a handbag. Then a selection of embryos are created with in-vitro fertilization (IVF), packed and sealed in liquid nitrogen, and then finally shipped off to India. There, the embryos are implanted into a surrogate mother, and if the pregnancy takes, the parents-to-be can pick up their baby nine months later.
It sounds so simple and hassle free, but should baby making be really marketed in such a way? We’re talking about little, innocent human beings here, not toys created in a factory assembly line.
Director Frank explained, “The business aspects of the reproduction industry are intriguing, as well as frightening. With no real existing barriers to overcome, and lots of money to be made, the human reproduction industry is steaming ahead, and a cold and distant business is emerging, guided only by the principles of the free-market dealing. Given the complexities and sensitive issues surrounding reproduction and birth, this could be very dangerous.”
Dr. Nayna Patel runs the surrogacy clinic in India that works closely with Mr. Mamet and Tammuz clients. She views this business model in a more positive light, and described it as “one woman helping another.”
It is true that many women receive major financial benefits for volunteering their bodies for the business of baby making. Katherine, from the United States, an egg donor, is planning on making another donation soon in order to pay for the renovations on her family’s home. Indian surrogate mothers are also able to gain financial independence, to buy houses and provide for their children in ways they only dreamed of.
With surrogacy in India, it’s all possible. There are plenty of Indian women willing to put their wombs up for rent, and a good number of couples and singles (of all races, religions and sexual orientations) willing to pay to conceive a child in this fashion.
There’s absolutely no doubt that this new business is profitable, but very controversial; and on the flipside, it also gives people the chance to have the family they’ve always wanted.
Terry Clayton and Steve Oxley, a same-sex couple from Texas, chose egg donation and surrogacy in India, and now have beautiful twin sons, Ajay and Jag. Oxley said, “We have a family now. As the years go by, we won’t be just two old men growing older, we’ll have a family. We’ll have our children and our grandchildren.
Clayton chimed in, “It took us a while. We had to go through lot more than straight couples. But we wanted children and now we have two beautiful sons. Everyone deserves to have a family, even if it looks a little different.”
Now it must be asked, is this baby production business helpful or hurtful? Or, could it be a little bit of both? While many couples now have a full house of kids thanks to surrogacy options in India, there are still a whole lot of ethical, social and humanitarian issues to be sorted out. Until then, only time can reveal the true benefits and/or consequences of this very controversial way to make a baby.
This article was written by the medical research team at WhereismyDoctor.com
WhereismyDoctor.com does not intend for any of the information on this site to be regarded as medical advice - it is meant as a starting point for understanding treatment details and options before contacting a registered, licensed doctor. We advise all patients to seek medical advice from a doctor. View sources
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.