Wednesday, February 20, 2008

You've Gone a Long Way Baby

In a piece cleverly called "Womb for Rent," the Today Show this morning ran a story about infertile American couples who are hiring Indian women to act as surrogate mothers.

Lovely -- we're now outsourcing pregnancy to India.

That sound you hear is Lou Dobbs's head exploding.


Terry Heaton said...

I just spit my coffee all over my computer screen. LMAO, Chez.

cajun man said...

in-vitro fertaliza-shun

Anonymous said...

This plot line was TOTALLY on Ugly Betty....

enough said, I believe.

achilles3 said...

Would make a great bobble head.

Nira said...

I don't know exactly what to feel about seems like extraordinary exploitation to me. But maybe the Indian women are making the best decisions for their families? Ugh. It just feels wrong though.

Lily's Mommy said...

I'm floored. Is this happening because Indian women are cheaper to hire as surrogate mothers?

hmmm I read part of the article on wedmd. It looks like it's a fraction of the cost to hire a woman in India vs the US. However, it's still a lot of money to the Indian women.

Is it exploitation? Apparently some states restrict payment for surrogate mothers. You'd have to be really fucking nice to carry someone else's baby for free. Stretch marks, swollen ankles, hemorrhoids.

Yup, I think I'm okay with it being outsourced. :)

That being said, my main concern would be that the health of the mother (what she eats, etc) has a direct effect on the fetus as it's growing. If these babies are coming out healthy, and the women are making money, is it a bad thing??

Anonymous said...

First, I cannot seem to get my google account to work..GRRR.

Anyway, this astounds me. I have a friend who is actively trying to adopt a little dude in India, (where she and her husband both work running a charity school for street kids) and they have hit wall after wall in the mind-boggling world of Indian beurocracy. So, you cannot adopt a street kid who's drunken parents abandoned him on a piece of cardboard on the street, but a couple who has 30 grand to throw around can "buy" or "rent" a uterus no questions asked?

What. The. Fuck.


BV said...

Marie Claire did a great article on this about 6 months ago (I could be wrong about the time frame, though).

I don't know if I see it any different than asking/paying someone in the US to have your baby. It is cheaper, but nobody is being forced. These Indian women are signing up for this.

I still say there are lots of unwanted children in the US that need good homes.

As usual, I am on the fence looking from both sides.

Paul said...

Outstanding...this easily outdoes the previous outsourcing story I heard a few months ago where a newspapers in Pasadena, CA (I believe) was looking to outsource a job of reporting on the city council meetings to someone in India.

Manny said...

Well, at the very least the kids will have outstanding customer service skills and have an encyclopedic knowledge of long distance plans.

But the sunken eyes and the genetic predisposition to khaki pants and sandals? Deal breaker, my friend.

Anonymous said...

For $30,000.00 the kid better come with the forehead dot!

Glenn said...

they probably go to India to avoid potential legal troubles that often arise here, such as the surrogate filing for custody, etc.

what's next?

Nate said...

I don't get what's the big deal. I think it's perfectly OK. Like others have mentioned, both sides get what they want. I don't agree with the above commenter that people should feel obliged to adopt American kids when they really want someone who is their own flesh and blood. It is a natural human drive to reproduce your own DNA and, if you can't carry a pregnancy to term, why not use technology and a surrogate to bear your child.

Anonymous said...

i don't think there's anything wrong with it. they need the money, and the government sure as hell doesn't do anything to help the less-fortunate, especially women.

but then i am indian. soooo...

Anonymous said...

Chez, you're slippin' dude! Your favorite Messiah's Mama, Oprah, did a full show on this probably in October or November last year. In fact, I believe it was timed in-sync with the article that came out in one of the ra-ra women's magazine (as someone above mentioned).

Funny how everyone else, least of all TODAY, is jumping on the bandwagon with this old news, NOW! The well must dry at the TODAY Features desk.

Anyway, I was inspired to do a little research about this after seeing it on Oprah. This is, in fact, not a large-scale business. It is quite a small, regulated endeavor and the two female physicians involved in it (one of whom is a white American) are very strict about the women chosen to be surrogates. They don't just pick anyone.

The women have to go through a battery of medical and psychological tests, and all of them live under the same roof, monitored closely by the physicians through the nine months. Almost all the women do it in secret, as it is unacceptable in most Indian subcultures to be a surrogate mother.

But the payoff is huge for them. Many of them are able to build a home, feed their own biological children, send them to school and live a much more comfortable life than before.

As much as anyone would like to make this a moral or culture issue, or a joke about outsourcing, I've concluded that it is a very noble and brave thing to do. These are women, who after being found to be in good health, are giving childless couples the joy of parenthood, and at the same time, ensuring a better life for themselves and their families. (Max)

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Next up for outsourcing, the sex act itself. We'll all be too busy working and stimulating the economy to actually f*ck anymore.

Anonymous said...

The two physicians who started this are doing so ethically. It provides the opportunity for an infertile married couple in the US to have a child. The woman in India, who must already have children, be married, be stable, is allowed the opportunity to provide income for her family.

It has the potential of being problematic as other less ethical people get involved. But at this point, this is no different than international adoption. It's merely an alternative.

ipsi said...

I had thought this was kinda disturbing, until I read Max's comment. Assuming that's the case then this isn't too bad.

Sure, they're being paid money to have a child. But I suspect most of them have little enough money that this is virtually like winning the lottery. If they do have to have a family first then I think that makes it a bit better - they're not choosing this as a career, they're choosing this because... Well, I've got no idea what goes through their heads.

I suspect it's some combination of wanting to do something good, and wanting to provide for your own family. Perhaps there's some element of greed in there, some form of "Ohhh! Look at how much money I can get! I'll do that!", but then I don't really think that can be avoided.

Nope, doesn't seem immoral or unethical to me.

And it's not outsourcing, not really. Not until you go to an American company to have a surrogate mother give birth to your child, and they send whatever you give them over to India (possibly without telling you, and just leaving you to believe that it's staying in the US). I'm sure there's a lot of people who'd have a fit over that.

It also doesn't sound like they're being exploited, which is what I'd really be worried about. That, and the possibility that they're addicted to drugs, or smoking, or alcohol. So if it's not just any old person they allow in, that's good. And if it's as few people as Max implied, then I think it's probably ok to assume they're not being exploited.

Sure, it's cheaper. But that's the way the world works. Talk to an Economist if you want to know why.

taylor said...

I live in India helping jobs be outsourced (non-child-bearing ones at the moment)(and I know I'm a bad person already, thanks) - the idea of this made some of my Indian colleagues giggle, but we couldn't decide whether it was funny or sad.

I suspect the motivation is pragmatic above all else, and I'd wager that 30 grand that less ethical versions of the program are already in place.

Anonymous said...

You are so creative and funny.

Lou is pro-Hillary, so he worries me.