Surrogacy: A doctor’s take

Renting a womb is one of those dynamic developments that changed a lot of equations world over. It gives couples who are not able to have a child due to many reasons a chance to have a baby they can call their own.

While, donating a kidney, a liver or blood helps prolong life, renting a womb helps bring a new bundle of joy to parents who are otherwise not able to have a baby. When a woman is ready to rent her womb to a childless couple, she is spreading happiness in the lives of many people. It is indeed a great deed. But for some reason, society still thinks renting a womb is taboo.

The first case of renting the womb in Kerala happened in 2005 at Trivandrum Samad Hospital. Dr. K.G. Madhavan Pillai, who is the Managing Director of Samad Hospital, speaks:

Renting a womb, in simple terms, is the process where an embryo, is deposited in a donor womb and it grows there. If a woman does not have issues with her ovaries she can use her own eggs for the process. The sperms from her husband can be used too. The embryo which forms by fusing this egg and the sperm is then deposited in a womb which belongs to another healthy woman. She will give birth to the baby and give it to the couple.

The treatments vary depending on the issues the couple may have. Each couple have different issues. The decisions as to what methods to use for treatment and what technologies are to be used depend on the health issues the couple face. The couple are counselled about the health hazards and various artificial remedies. We even talk to the couple about adoption to a life without babies.

There are two reasons why a woman agrees to give birth to another couple’s baby. In the first case, the woman will be someone close to the couple or a relative. This allows the couple to have a baby in their own social status. This is something that the hospital prefers too. The second case is when the hospital allocates someone to bear the child. They are allowed to meet, talk and get to know each other before they sign the agreement. There is no hidden agenda or cheating in this. The hospital just plays the role of a facilitator. A lawyer, the family members and the woman who is renting the womb come to a deal and sign the contract before they proceed. It is a very transparent thing.

Treatments begin before the woman actually gets pregnant. The woman who agrees to rent her womb will have to undergo tests. She may not necessarily get pregnant in the first attempt. Pregnancy may happen a couple of months after the treatment begins. The treatments in some cases gets prolonged to two years. It is a very expensive treatment which may range from Rs 75000 to about a Lakh of ruppes.

The risks here is similar to that of a normal pregnancy. There are cases when a miscarriage can happen; or a Caesarian section or the child having some abnormalities. There are chances that the woman may die while giving birth. All the people who are part of this process needs to understand the risks and it is for that the doctors, counsellors and lawyers to help the parties involved in being informed.

Renting a womb is one of the greatest blessings that science has given people. All we can hope for is that one day, people start talking about this openly rather than in hushed tones.