London - A surrogacy shop is being built in India to house hundreds of poor women paid to have children for Western couples unable to conceive.
Potential parents – including Britons – will be able to send sperm or embryos to the clinic, before visiting to pick up their new child.
The multi-million-pound clinic will have self-catering apartments for visiting Western couples, a floor for surrogate mothers, offices, delivery rooms, an IVF department and even restaurants and a gift shop.
The doctor behind the state-of-the-art centre is Nayna Patel, who runs a back-street clinic that accommodates around 100 pregnant women in a single house. She pays each surrogate around £4 950 (about R74 000) and receives £17 250 from hopeful parents.
Her programme in Anand, a small city in the state of Gujarat where the new clinic is under construction, has already produced almost 600 babies for rich couples. Dr Patel revealed in a BBC Four documentary on Tuesday night that she had received death threats and faced accusations of exploiting the poor for profit.
She said: “I have faced criticism and I will in the future. According to many, I am controversial. There have been allegations of baby selling, baby-making factory.”
She insisted she was on a feminist mission, saying “surrogacy is one woman helping another”.
She dismissed suggestions that she was exploiting the surrogates. “These woman are doing a job,” she said. “It’s a physical job – they are paid for that job. These women know there is no gain without pain.”
Surrogate mother Papiya, who is expecting twins for a couple in America, said she planned to spend her payment on a new house for her family.
“Having twins means we get a bigger fee,” she said. “Last time I was a surrogate, I bought white goods, a car and lent some to my sister-in-law.”
Another surrogate, Vasanti, said she had been able to send her daughter to a good English-speaking school with the cash she has earned. She is also using her fees to build a new house for her family.
In the documentary, House Of Surrogates, Dr Patel was seen praying as she placed embryos in the uterus of a surrogate. In two weeks, a blood test will show if she is pregnant.
But the film revealed that there could be also non-medical complications for those involved.
A Canadian named as Barbara, 54, was stuck in India for four months with her newborn son from surrogate Edan before she got the paperwork she needed to take him home.
Barbara, who had tried for 30 years to become a mother, said: “Infertility is a medical problem.
“If people born with bad eyesight get corrective eye glasses, and diabetics get insulin, why can’t we get medical treatment for our problem?” - Daily Mail