Aptly named Google Baby, the new documentary shows us what happens when you take outsourcing labor to cheaper countries into the fertility business.
Surrogacy is controversial at the best of times. I have to say that I was guilty of judging surrogates and those who use them myself, before I met many wonderful women on the internet who felt called to be a surrogate. Many of these women felt extremely drawn to helping those who would not otherwise achieve their dream of becoming parents, and many of them carefully selected the intended parents (that is what the parents of the baby carried by a surrogate are called in surrogacy jargon) themselves.
All the surrogates I met were extremely dedicated, and many of them have wonderful relationships with the parents and the surrobaby for the rest of their lives. Surrogacy at its best truly seems to be a beautiful thing, but anyone who has done it or toyed with the idea will tell you there are unique emotional challenges connected to what surrogate mothers like to call surrogate journeys .
The kind of surrogacy I am talking about is a far cry from the topic of Google Baby, which describes how couples from countries like the US, Australia, and Western Europe find their way to Indian surrogacy agencies through, as the title suggests, the internet. This fascinating documentary shows how couples choose their Indian surrogates, and how surrogate mothers choose their new jobs.
While the intended parents often pay no more than $6,000 for the whole process (compared to up to $100,000 in the US), the question is how much the surrogate mother receives in compensation. Still, I guess, for many Indian women, renting out their uterus for nine months is more appealing than selling a kidney.
Google Baby paints a picture of dirt-poor Indian families, who have no choice but to do something radical if they want to, say, educate their children, or buy a house. It shows how surrogate mothers often live in the clinics for the whole duration of their pregnancies, both to avoid the shame surrogacy brings to the women, and to ensure they eat properly.
One doctor, who heads a surrogacy clinic, says the surrogate mothers arrive at this choice themselves but to me, the small rooms with bars in which they live have more than a passing similarity to a prison cell. The intended parents, on the other hand, often see Indian surrogacy as their only way to parenthood. It is cheaper than domestic surrogacy, cheaper than adoption, and often illegal in the countries they come from, so turning to India seems like the only viable choice.
What are your opinions about Indian surrogacy? Have you seen the documentary? Would you use an Indian surrogate, and if so, why would that be your choice? Do you think international surrogacy regulation would benefit anyone? I would love to hear your comments on this!