Outsourcing Your Pregnancy to India Is the Financially Savvy Choice

Illustration for article titled Outsourcing Your Pregnancy to India Is the Financially Savvy Choice

In addition to IT and customer service, Americans are now cutting costs by outsourcing their pregnancies to India, giving a whole new meaning to the term "cheap labor."


India is home to a booming, multi-million dollar, unregulated surrogacy industry, in which couples can hire an Indian woman to carry their child via in vitro fertilization—using the either the couple's own sperm and egg or donor sperm and egg—for less than a quarter of what it costs to for the same services in the U.S.

The town of Anand is considered the "hub" of India's surrogacy business. One clinic there—run by Dr. Nayana Patel, who has helped deliver babies for over 200 American couples—requires surrogates to live in a hostel for their entire pregnancy so they can be monitored. Dr. Patel's facility was was profiled by CBS News; footage shows small, crowded rooms packed with rows of single bed-sized cots, some of them holding two pregnant women at a time, while hallways are lined with women eating their meals on the floor. They are cut off from their families for the duration of their stay.


Of the $25,000 price tag that Americans pay for a pregnancy, only $8000 goes to the surrogate for her 40 weeks on the job. But it beats the $30 a month that one woman at the clinic was making as a housekeeper.

So we are basically now living in a dystopian future in which the ruling class is farming people in an impoverished environment. This is The Handmaid's Tale come to life.

That said, it does seem to be advantageous for everyone involved. A couple can get a baby for relatively cheap, while the surrogate will earn a relatively significant amount of money—enough to change her life or that of her own children.

For what it's worth, one couple interviewed by CBS were at least aware that they might be contributing to the exploitation of a group of women, many of whom are illiterate.

We kind of struggle with a lot of these kind of issues ourselves, kind of thinking are we taking advantage? Because obviously, we did it here because of financial reasons.


Image via Anatoly Tiplyashin/Shutterstock

Baby boom: Indian women giving birth to U.S. babies [CBS News]

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I've heard about this before as Australian couples do this. It's illegal to pay a surrogate in Australia so India became an 'obvious' choice.

I have some massive issues with the practice, aside from the general Handmaid's tale/neo-colonialist implications. For one, the bio parents often assume a very high degree of control over the surrogate, wanting to monitor her food consumption and activities. The other massive issue is that the kid will usually be born by C-section to make sure that the parents will be able to fly in for the birth. Apart from the fact that this ensures a longer recovery time, it also means that any subsequent births that the surrogate has will be riskier. She may not have access to a c-section and vaginal births following c-sections are riskier. So the convienience of the bio parents is placed ahead of the health and wellbeing of the surrogate.