American gays all for Indian surrogacy

October 12, 2009 / timesof india
American couples, especially gay men, are having children abroad for less money and with fewer headaches, and India, it seems, has emerged as the
ideal surrogate mom destination, according to a report.

According to the report appearing in the website www.thedailybeast.com/blog , Indian surrogacy is now a half-billion dollar industry.

It mentions the case of Mike Griebe and Brad Fister, who tried everything to have a child. They explored adoption. They researched what Griebe termed "a baby factory type deal," where you basically pay for a "ready-made baby." They went to agencies that promise to find babies in the United States.

The Kentucky couple even paid 20,000 dollars to a Virginia woman to be a surrogate, only to walk away when she insisted that if anything happened to Griebe, 38, and Fister, 30, that she would have rights to the baby.

Then, one day, while watching Oprah, they heard about a relatively new way to have a child: using an Indian surrogate.

The segment featured Dr. Nayna Patel, the director of the Akanksha Infertility and IVF Clinic in Anand, Gujarat,India.

At first, Griebe and Fister didn’t think an Indian surrogate would be an option.
"We just dismissed it because when we searched it, we found that that clinic would only deal with traditional couples," says Griebe —meaning straight couples.

After searching online, they came across the Web site for Surrogacy Abroad, a Chicago agency run by Benhur Samson that guides foreign couples through the process of hiring a surrogate mother in India.

After talking with Samson and an embryologist in India, the couple drove to Chicago to meet with Samson. "We felt very comfortable with him, unlike everybody else we had dealt with after that time," says Griebe.

The two decided to use Fister’s sperm for the pregnancy, and so he flew to India with Samson. Fister met his surrogate who, he says, is married with two children and told him the money she’s making from the surrogacy will go toward her children’s education.
Fister says he was surprised at how open the clinic was.

“The whole process was a lot more hands-on than it would be in the U.S.,” he says. "You get to see the whole process. I got to watch the embryos go in. Those are things you never get to see here. You follow them the whole way." After one failed attempt and one miscarriage, their surrogate is now due in April.

They get updates, including ultrasounds, via email. Samson, a native of India, started Surrogacy Abroad in 2006, when one of his sisters was having trouble getting pregnant.
He’d worked in the medical field for 22 years, processing claims and benefits, before starting the agency.

"I flew to India and checked out all the clinics," he said, before finally settling on Kiran. Commercial surrogacy was legalized in India in 2002, and it is now estimated to be a 445 million dollar business.

Griebe and Fister say they’ve spent around 40,000 dollars on the surrogacy process so far. According to Samson, 8,000 dollars goes directly to the surrogate mother.
Samson’s agency is one of the few to specifically target gay couples.

Homosexuality was only decriminalized in India in July; even though it was rarely prosecuted, it was still a social taboo until a few years ago.

It’s illegal for surrogates to be recruited directly by the hospital. Instead, they’re found by a social worker at an NGO, according to embryologist Samit Sekhar. "A year ago, I would have said it was very difficult to recruit a surrogate," says Sekhar. "Now it is becoming much more open. They get a decent amount of money. They get free food, free boarding, and free clothes, and they are housed in a nice place" for 12 months, away from their families.

Sekhar says that Kiran can house up to 50 surrogates at a time. "They stay at the clinic. The non-pregnant surrogates are housed in an apartment," he says.
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Money, as always

The average annual income in India is $1,017 (GDP per capita), so receiving $8000 carrying a child for a foreign couple, means 8 years of income. Doesn't this mean the women being recruited for this program are coerced by the necessity of their circumstances.

With inter-country adoption declining, international surrogacy is rising and it faces many of the same ethical issues involved in inter-country adoption too. With India's economic "success" other countries will certainly follow. Hundreds of million dollars income means a lot for many third world countries and not many are able to withstand the pressure to pass laws to allow commercial surrogacy. In a "free market", this means business will go to the cheapest, least regulated country. Other countries will follow and they will pay less than $8000 to the women carrying the child, afterall in a country like Burundi, 8 annual incomes estimates little over $1000, so moving operations there will save $7000 per procedure.

It is technically possible to provide all affluent infertile couples (whether by accident or by choice) with children, the question is if it is ethical to do so. Is it acceptable to go to a poverty stricken countries and let some woman do the breeding that the couple is incapable of doing themselves? Is the human body for sale, or are there higher values than the almighty Dollar or Euro?

Family-planning, "for less money and with fewer headaches"

I found that article very disturbing, as it reflects a growing trend in family-planning -- anything is possible if enough money can be made... and saved.  [I suppose these couples going to India feel as though they are helping poor women provide for their families, making baby-trade a deal that benefits both sides of the negotiation table.]

The more I read about surrogacy, the more I see it as a maternity-home business that eliminates the orphan-title, orphanage damage, and pesky parents making all sorts of annoying demands.  [A pure delight for those who really don't want to adopt a so-called orphan with a lot of emotional baggage!]

 Mike Griebe and Brad Fister, who tried everything to have a child. They explored adoption. They researched what Griebe termed "a baby factory type deal," where you basically pay for a "ready-made baby." They went to agencies that promise to find babies in the United States.

The Kentucky couple even paid 20,000 dollars to a Virginia woman to be a surrogate, only to walk away when she insisted that if anything happened to Griebe, 38, and Fister, 30, that she would have rights to the baby.

Then, one day, while watching Oprah, they heard about a relatively new way to have a child: using an Indian surrogate.

What strikes me is how an adoption is deemed illegal if the mother takes money in exchange for her child.  Yet, this is exactly what's happening in surrogacy.  An odd bit of irony, isn't it?  So, as some adoption services with maternity homes (like Bethany Christian Services) are convincing mothers-to-be adoption is the most loving decision she could choose for her child, other agencies are popping-up in poverty-stricken regions, asking women to rent their wombs for 10-12 months, for a handsome fee.  The real difference being, surrogate mothers know up-front they are being paid NOT to become attached to the baby in her belly.

It’s illegal for surrogates to be recruited directly by the hospital. Instead, they’re found by a social worker at an NGO, according to embryologist Samit Sekhar. "A year ago, I would have said it was very difficult to recruit a surrogate," says Sekhar. "Now it is becoming much more open. They get a decent amount of money. They get free food, free boarding, and free clothes, and they are housed in a nice place" for 12 months, away from their families.

Compare this to what's offered those experiencing a "crisis pregnancy":  Adoptions First free birthmother's package

It's amusing to me parent-wanna-bes seem to think adoption's baby-factory type deals are a bit offensive, yet surrogacy can be seen as being a wonderful way to have children.  I guess knowing the mother is getting paid well for her services is reason enough to feel good about the agreed-upon family-planning decision.

Is anyone really thinking what all this parent/child removal is doing to people???  Is anyone thinking about future consequences that go with the question, "How did you get me?"

Does any one really care, or is it all about what feels good to the couple that has a decent income and wants a baby, badly?

orphans and surrogacy

At least one adoption agency, Partners for Adoption, doing business as International Surrogacy Partners, is active in surrogacy from Ukraine, having an exclusive contract with Surrogacy Agency Center "La Vita Felice".

Partners for Adoption is a member of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCICS), which boasts the activity of its members is about saving orphans, reflected by its membership of the Families for Orphans Coalition, responsible for drafting the Families for Orphans Act.

I wonder how the JCICS is going to spin surrogacy as an orphan issue. Based on modern day inflation of the term, technically there are two moments in the procedure where the child/embryo can be called an orphan, immediately after fertilization while still living in a petri dish. The other moment is after the surrogate mother has signed away her parental rights and before the baby-purchasers have been granted paternal rights to the child.

The claim surrogacy involves orphans is of course a far cry, but so is the claim inter-country adoption involves orphans, and that never kept the JCICS from using that terminology. So I am really curious how this is going to be spun in such a fashion that it is somehow someones Christian duty to receive a child through surrogacy.

Snow-flakes and the snow-ball effect

I am really curious how this is going to be spun in such a fashion that it is somehow someones Christian duty to receive a child through surrogacy.

I can easily see how frozen "orphaned" embryos can and will be be seen as surrogate material... especially when you start reading how many would rather sell their gathered/collected fertilized eggs to a wanting couple than throw those potential little-lives down a sewage drain.   Note the wording that changes adoption/surrogacy into (parent) transference in certain circles:

 the cryogenically preserved embryos, to Bush, constitute a unique national resource. One which must be appropriately handled and appropriated, a national resource in a zero sum game tug of war between stem cell research and thousands of potential snowflake children reparented into couples deemed appropriately Christian.

This afternoon, the White House staged an event following the Bush veto of legislation supporting stem-cell research. According to a congratulatory press release issued by Operation Rescue West, Bush was surrounded by "snowflake children."

What's a snowflake kid you may ask?

In IVF, after a couple run through a full course of fertilizing, freezing and trying to implant their own frozen embryos, they may at the end of the process have 'spare embryos' they do not want to give birth to and raise.

There are several possibilities of what to do with these 'spares', one of which recently has been mislabeled "embryo adoption," by another, genetically unrelated to the embryo, couple. Far from adoption, this is actually, more aptly referred to as a process of tranferrence. The children that are the product of this process of embryo transfer to non-biological parents have been nicknamed 'snowflakes.'

These resultant kids are primarily the products of the Christian adoption industry, which sometimes includes in thier most casual materials, requirements such as a "constructive, wholesome, spiritual home environment" of the prospective non-biological couple - all code for a household of the fully-committed Christian kind.

Bush, some churches, and many in the Christian adoption industry consider this not merely the individual goals and aspirations of couples involved in this process, but a matter of national policy, the desired outcome, and the only destination of what they perceive as America's embryo surplus.

[From:  Stem-Cell Veto, Snowflake kids, and Christian Eugenics ]

 

There's a strong moral conviction that seems to exist in the adoption community -- "giving" to to those who don't have... all for a small fee... is the right thing to do.  If this "giving" and "transferring" is in the name of Christianity, I suppose, it becomes even more right (and supported).

For those interested, more about snowflake babies/frozen embryo adoption can be found here:  http://poundpuplegacy.org/frozen_embryo_adoption

Meanwhile, I have to admit, it sure will be will be very fascinating to see how snow-flake surrogacy centers will develop and how they will determine who makes "an ideal-parent" for an orphaned embryo-in-waiting.  [It reads very much like people are quite eager to play-God, doesn't it?]

"American gays all for Indian Surrogacy"? lolol

LOL!

WHICH "American gays"? Where? Why? What economic and social/ethnic backgrounds?

The premise of the Times of India title and this entire article are bullcrap.

There are only a couple places in the US where Griebe and Fister -- who, it should go without saying, are not representative of an entire group of people -- can even get married, much less adopt, foster, etc.

ToI apparently believes same sex marriage, surrogacy and adoption are a matter of habit in the USA. They'd do better to critique why Indian women turn to surrogacy in the first place, and in the second place interrogate what their readership is going to do with new laws that just DECRIMINALIZED homosexuality not even a year ago.

Ignorance abounds.

Times of India strikes again

"US gay couple rents a womb in Hyderabad"

Fister and Michael, who owns a computer firm, spent an amount of $ 60,000 to get this child, are the first among a bunch of gay couples who are coming to Hyderabad seeking surrogate mothers carry babies for them. In fact, Fister's daughter, who he has named Ashton, is the first surrogate child case of an American couple handled by the US Consulate in Hyderabad.

Fister had come to Hyderabad last year when he donated his sperm which was fused with an egg donated by an Indian egg donor. The resultant embryo was then implanted in a surrogate mother and this entire procedure was carried out at a city-based infertility centre, a first such case (of two dads) for them. The child was delivered by the surrogate mother on January 28 and Fister says the baby girl is his reflection with his "chin and lips". The surrogate mother got paid Rs 4 lakh for carrying the baby, the going rate for rented wombs in the city.

This entire situation is nauseating. Too bad people try to couch their antigay attitudes behind care ohhh for the children and ohhh the birthmothers.

Give me a break.

This is their only way to become a parent

What is particularly sad is this is what the wealthy gay person is forced to do, "rent a womb" because the USA will not accept them for adoption.  Some go the private adoption route like through IAC -Independent Adoption Center where they actually place their bios on a web page and the birth mother selects them. 

I am sorry that offering a home only has to do with being straight, white and religious- Many Gay couples would make awesome parents and many are very devoted parents.

Clay Aiken, Michael Jackson, Ricky Martin and a host of other wealthy celebs have had to go this route because they so wanted to be a parent.  Recently Elton John and his life partner David were in the news.  They had given money to the children of Ukraine who had HIV+ and found an HIV+ baby they fell in love with.  They wanted to adopt but were told "no" because  Elton is too old and the couple is gay. 

 

Can we please re-focus on the REAL problem?

Let's look at the bigger picture, please.

The presence of international clients in the surrogacy industry in Hyderabad, say industry insiders, have led to higher rates for surrogate mothers.

Rates, they say, have doubled over the last few months. Of the total Rs 4-4.5 lakh charged for the surrogate mother, the woman who delivers the child gets Rs 2.5 lakh and another one lakh is earmarked for her diet and comfort during the nine-month period. The remaining amount of Rs 50,000 goes to the registered medical practitioner who would get the surrogate mother.   [http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Hyderabad-US-gay-couple-rents-a-womb/articleshow/5590508.cms]

Relatively wealthy people do not want to pay local surrogacy/adoption prices because they are much too high.  What do they do?  They find a more cost-friendly alternative.  They go on the web and find an agency that "works with" poor locals, who are desperate for food/money.

I don't care what color or sexual orientation a person is, exploiting the poor so a baby can be had/obtained is wrong, and it should not be praised or encouraged.... it should be criticized. Period.

Agreed

I totally agree.

Over the last couple of years surrogacy has been outsourced to countries like Ukraine and India. Even Guatemala, now that adoption is no longer a viable option, is starting to become a rent-a-womb-country. The same exploitation seen in intercountry adoption can be seen in international surrogacy. There are no excuses for that.

Kerry, don't get me wrong...

I agree with you that International Surrogacy Adoptions is a contradiction to all of these adoption agencies that claim there are 5 MILLION ORPHANS WORLDWIDE.  But somehow a clever agency finds a new niche and manufactures MORE children?  I cannot see it at all.

If someone wants to go the surrogacy route, do it in the USA (for the reasons you stated-explotiation of the poor women)  the thought of it happening in a poor country just pisses me off.  I feel the woman are being violated.  Our Adoption laws have not caught up to this new scheme of International Surrogacy. 

With Hague regulations, I am not sure how they are getting around this?  All Hague countries are required to register the child at central authority - no more independent adoptions between - doctor, birth mother and adoptive parents.  So I have no idea how they are getting around this regulation?  Some how they are reserving the surrogate baby BEFORE it is registered and to my knowledge that is illegal. 

However, with all the predjudices toward gay couples adopting many of them are forced to go this route. 

Forced?

No one, irrespective of sexual orientation is forced to adopt or go the surrogacy route. When a couple can't receive children themselves, either due to infertility, or because of the same-sex nature of the relationship, it is their choice to seek alternative means to obtain a child. When none of the available options is ethically sound, it is their choice to go through with it anyway.

Surrogacy is more blatantly an act of purchasing a child than adoption is, but the fact remains that the purchasing power of the people wanting a child often determines the outcome. The same reasons to go abroad apply to surrogacy as they do to adoption. With domestic adoptions as well as with domestic surrogacy, the buyer's biggest fear is that the child donor may change her mind. Going the international route takes away much of that fear. Women in India or Guatemala don't receive the same level of legal protection women in the US do, so it's not all that likely they will change their mind.

As always the money involved is the driving factor. For an American woman, $15,000 may be a lot of money, but it is also quickly spent. $5,000 in India on the other hand is a fortune, worth several annual incomes. The huge income inequality between the US and India make it more likely women in India will accept the terms of the surrogacy. More American women would do so if the received $250,000 instead of $15,000.

Everyone making the choice of taking the international surrogacy route, contributes to the exploitation of women in third world countries, and I don't see any excuses. There certainly are prejudices against same-sex couples in adoption, but that doesn't force those couples into international surrogacy. There is still the possibility to just say no to the desire to have a child.

Not disputing anything you are posting about surrogacy.

I am merely pointing out that a same sex couple who so wants to be parents, have had every door shut in their face.  If they have money - many want to take the route of surrogacy.  International surrogacy has it's risks just like international adoption.

Not all domestic open adoptions where the birth mother has the right to choose the adoptive family will select a same-sex couple to parent their child.  Domestic Surrogacy also has it's prejudices - unless they can find a friend carry the child.  Which many same sex couples have - or get a friend to donate their sperm/egg as Melissa Etheridge had David Crosby do for her and her partner.

I am saying that lack of choices forces them to go overseas for surrogacy.  It sucks but they want to be parents.  For all we know, these international surrogacy practices might be marketing to same sex couples.  

Homosexualists Action Terminates DC Foster Care Program

Let me understand this-Catholic Charities would rather close that assist same sex couples with adoption.  However, the Catholic church for years has buried evidence regarding their priests and pedophillia?
Saturday, February 20, 2010

Homosexualists' Action Terminates D.C. Foster Care Program

The [Roman Catholic] Archdiocese of Washington's decision to drop its foster care program is the first casualty of the District of Columbia's pending same-sex marriage law that will obligate all outside contractors dealing with the city to recognize gay couples.

-- From "Catholics end D.C. foster-care program" by Julia Duin, Washington Times 2/18/10

"We regret that our efforts to avoid this outcome were not successful," Catholic Charities Chief Executive Officer Ed Orzechowski said in a statement. "Foster care has been an important ministry for us for many decades. We worked very hard to be able to continue to provide these services in the District."

The transfer of services also means Catholic Charities will discontinue offering public adoption services. The agency processed 12 such adoptions throughout 2009 and including into this year.

"It was a very high-quality program, so this was really hard," archdiocesan spokeswoman Susan Gibbs said of the foster care/adoption service. "We said last fall that we could not continue this program if the bill was passed as written. Well, this has come to pass."

The Vatican has long opposed any church role in aiding homosexuals to adopt. In 2003, it said that placing children into same-sex households was "gravely immoral."

But with more states legalizing same-sex unions, the Washington Archdiocese is the third diocese in the country to leave the adoption/foster care business. The archdioceses of San Francisco and Boston, which had contracts with California and Massachusetts, respectively, ceased their programs in 2006 after each state legalized gay marriages and made it clear that the local Catholic Charities affiliate would have to work with homosexual couples. (California has since repealed its law allowing same-sex marriage.)

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "D.C. Archdiocese Ends Foster Care Program Over Same-Sex Marriage Bill, Which Allows Homosexual Couples to Adopt Children" by Edwin Mora, CNSNews.com 2/19/10

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. has ended its 80-year tenure as a public foster care provider because of a same-sex marriage bill in the nation’s capital that allows children to be adopted by homosexual couples.

On Feb. 17, Catholic Charities transferred its foster care and public adoption programs in D.C. to the National Center for Children Families (NCCF), a private, non-profit organization that has been serving the less fortunate for 95 years.

The move by Catholic Charities and Archbishop Donald Wuerl came in the wake of the D.C. Council approving a same-sex marriage bill on Dec. 16 by an 11-to-2 vote. The bill, among other things, would require foster care groups under contract with the District to allow and facilitate adoption of foster-care children by homosexual couples.

This policy violates the moral teaching of the Catholic Church, which says that only a man and a woman can be united in marriage and that together with their children they form a family. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2201-2203.)

If the same-sex initiative clears the 30-day congressional review period, which is expected given the Democrat majority in Congress, the legislation will become law in the next couple of weeks.

While the bill is expected to become law, congressional Republicans and some conservative Democrats have indicated they will try annul the legislation by getting Congress or a court to block it.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Good riddance

I have not the slightest problem with Catholic charities stepping out of foster care. In the end foster care is a government run program, where private organizations have the opportunity to bid for a contract. If Catholic charities no longer want a piece of the pie, then others will.

This decision by Catholic charities reflects badly on them. It is evident from their decision other interests than the child's best interest prevail. I think any organization that holds other principles before the best interest of the child, should not be allowed to participate in a government run program.

Speaking of "bad reflections"

Ever since the Ryan Report came out, the Catholic Church is expected to clean it's own mess... a mess that involves decades of  priests/clergy "secretly" sexually abusing children put in their care.

Still, religious groups like to believe only homosexuals are a real danger to children!!

 

Going outside of the US

Why are more and more people choosing surrogacy routes OUTSIDE the USA for babies?  

The high costs and legal murkiness of surrogacy arrangements here in the U.S. are driving some would-be parents to India. The price tag can be anywhere from $70,000 to $130,000, and many people pay more for multiple attempts, says Richard Vaughn, managing attorney at the National Fertility Law Center in Los Angeles.

Also, most states don't have laws regarding the practice. Other states prohibit surrogacy agreements altogether. Some allow them but have restrictions on certain types of agreements, such as those where surrogates are compensated or where the surrogate mother also contributes the egg—and therefore is the biological mother.

Surrogacy in India can cost less than half of what it would in the U.S. PlanetHospital, a medical tourism company based in Calabasas, Calif., offers a package that includes the services of an Indian egg donor for $32,000, excluding transportation and hotel expenses for the intended parents. Rudy Rupak, the company's president, says in the first eight months of this year he sent 600 couples or single parents overseas for surrogacy, triple the number in 2008 and up from just 33 in 2007. Most were from the U.S.  [From:  Heading to India for a Longerd-For Child ]

Let me add, the high cost of adoptions leads many a PAP down a dark and murky (and illegal) route, too. 

Which is the lesser evil?

with all the predjudices toward gay couples adopting many of them are forced to go this route.

There's a wicked irony to all the do-gooding being done to children stuck in really bad/poor care.... while there are those circles working hard to prevent perfectly qualified adults from caring for young Americans languishing in horrific foster care, more and more are turning to exploit poor women (asking them to use their bodies, and help create more babies), in return for limited food and shelter, and some extra money.  [It's a real sin seeing what some women have to do just to have food and a place to sleep, isn't it?]

So, instead of Religious Rights asking, " What would Jesus do?", perhaps they should be asking, "What would Mary do?"

Go figure man's morality behind child placement!

give me a break

you make it sound as though these women were rounded up against their will and kept as slaves. seems they are exercising their right to make a decision for themselves, perhaps for a better life, education, running water. No one is exploiting them - they do this vlountarily . Am curious though Kerry, since you are so concerned with exploitation what are you doing to assist poor women across the globe, other than ignorantly pecking away at your keyboard

Living in peace, not ignorance

First, let's be clear:  there is no "voluntary choice" when a person realizes the only way she can get food, water, and a modicum of assistance for herself and her family is if she pays with her life and blood.  [Yes, pregnancy and child-birth bring huge risks, such as hemorrhage and death.]   This so-called "choice" you see is a matter of survival, and as far as I can see in many of these foreign surrogacy situations, shame should go to those who choose to exploit a person's will to survive.  [You did read how much these doctors/surrogate services are making, didn't you?]. 

Secondly, in response to the comment directed at me....

Personally, I believe it is the misguided and insecure who will help others with the hope and expectation that such work will bring public praise, recognition, and approval.

With that, I happily confess, I own a peace inside of me; this peace tells me, when I meet my Maker, He will be very proud of the many things I did, (and tried to do), for the sake of others, in-spite of harsh conditions, acts, and criticism.

May your life be equally blessed.

 

Anonymous wrote:"... seems

Anonymous wrote:
"... seems they are exercising their right to make a decision for themselves, perhaps for a better life, education, running water. No one is exploiting them - they do this vlountarily ."

What rights do women in third world countries have? Seems little to any, so there is room for exploitation. It also seems that you are either naive or misinform on the reality of payment that goes to an uneducated person for renting their womb. Certainly not enough to really make a difference in their lives in respect to living conditions or work situations.

Keep in mind, those who were the most corrupt in adoptions in Guatemala, when the country closed to ICA, the attorneys morphed into surrogacy agencies. Need I say more?

Pound Pup Legacy