'Couples should go for adoptions'

Jan 9, 2011 / times of india 

HYDERABAD: India could have become a hub for surrogacy but senior gynaecologists gathered at the 54th All India Congress of Obstetrics and Gynaecology cautioned against the trend and said couples seeking babies should go for adoptions. At a session on `Surrogacy vs Adoption' held as part of the congress here on Saturday, doctors said that childless couples renting wombs for nine months after which a readymade baby is handed over to them, should rather look at adoption as a better choice.

Experts said that in India, one in 40 pregnant women die even in a normal delivery. "When a woman is renting her womb, she is also renting her health. The drugs used can be lethal and later on, a surrogate can develop cancer. Lured by the money, poor women are not being counselled properly by the doctors involved and they are not doing justice to the consent form," says Dr Suma Kantipudi, who runs two IVF centres in the city.

However, Dr Naina Patel, who has put India on the world surrogacy map when she helped a couple from outside the country get their `own' child at Anand in Gujarat, advocated surrogacy and said that it was a huge financial help to poor families. Dr Patel said that comparing surrogacy with adoption was not logical as the former choice gave a couple "biological children'' and noted there weren't many health hazards associated with a surrogate pregnancy. The pro-adoption doctors argued that in a country where there were so many homeless children, spending millions and billions on surrogacy was not fair.

Further, other gynaecologists maintained that if a child has defects or neurological disorders, the child will have to be aborted. Else, if the defects show up after birth, there are high possibilities that the biological parents will refuse to take the child. Doctors said that even if the child is aborted, the surrogate mother has to go through the ordeal of abortion.

Dr P Balamba, senior gynaecologist, said that as per the guidelines in Assisted Reproductive Technology (regulation) Bill 2010, women up to 35 years and not related to the biological parents are eligible to become surrogates. "But these guidelines are given a go by," says Dr Balamba, adding that there have been instances when even mothers-in-law have turned surrogates.

According to estimates, there are 10 lakh street children in India and gynaecologists say that if each of the childless couple adopts them, there would be a few left on the streets. "As a senior gynaecologist, I am for adoption. In our country, adoption is a difficult procedure. Why cannot we adopt orphans and give them a family and shelter," said Dr P V Saraschandrika.


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