Monday 23 November 2009

IN THE PRESS: Recession brings a boom in fertility biz

This is an article that was published last year,in The Mail Today Newspaper, that shows a new trend in third party ART

Economic slide fuels fertility biz boom
New Delhi December 24, 2008

Last year’s sealing drive took away her husband’s catering unit. This October, recession cost Anita her retail job.

Christmas, though, may finally bring some cheer — and money — to this 26- yearold retail management postgraduate.

No, she hasn't found another job. But she will raise money by renting out her womb to an American woman who is flying in to India to start the procedure next week.

"I have an MBA degree and have done several computer courses. But I didn’t look for another job after losing the one that I had. The job market is just too tight," Anita says.

Easy money in hard times: Educated and middle-class women affected by meltdown are turning surrogates or egg donors
The mother of a two- year- old hopes to be pregnant by January 2009. She'll be paid Rs 2.75 lakh, along with all expenses incurred on groceries and medicines, for the next nine months.

"If she hadn’t lost her job, she wouldn’t have bothered to do this. You don’t generally get such well- educated surrogates or donors, unless they are from the paramedic profession," says Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour, a fertility expert at Phoenix Hospital, Greater Kailash- I, where Anita will undergo the procedure.

It's win- win for Gour's American patient as well. She'd have had to shell out $40,000-50,000 (Rs 20-25 lakh) to a surrogate in the US. The recession is fuelling a baby harvest. It's evident from a visit to the Delhi In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and Fertility Research Centre at Bengali Market.

Reeta, a software engineer, has taken time off from her IT firm in Gurgaon to donate eggs to an infertile couple being treated at the centre. She decided to do this after her husband, a software engineer in the US, returned to India after being laid off.

Reeta's eggs go for a premium, thanks to her high IQ profile, and she makes Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 each time. "My husband is trying to raise money to open his own software training institute. I want to help him, as well as help infertile couples have babies," she says.

Confirming the trend, Dr Anoop Gupta, Delhi IVF's infertility specialist, says: "In the last two months, we have had seven or eight couples walking in with prospective egg donors and surrogates who are all white-collared workers affected by the economic crisis. People facing recession know about this opportunity that will help them and also assist infertile couples." In Gujarat's Anand — India's surrogacy capital — Kaival Hospital's infertility specialist Nayna H. Patel says the number of educated and middle-class surrogates and donors from towns such as Vadodara has shot up by 15-20 per cent.

"Many of these women come after losing money in the share market or after either they themselves or their husbands lose their job," Patel adds.

One of the surrogates under her care is a 26-year-old woman who has an LLB and a BCom degree. The woman turned to surrogacy after her husband was rendered jobless because of the economic downturn.

For Mayur Vihar housewifeturned- tutor Mandakini, becoming an egg donor came as an alternative to suicide, which she was contemplating after her husband, a sound engineer, lost his Rs 40,000-a-month job.

"We moved from a two-bedroom home to a one-room set with a kitchen," Mandakini recalls. "My son’s marks fell from 96 per cent to 64 per cent because we couldn't afford his tuitions any more. We didn't have the money to pay his school fees. I had gone to a chemist to buy poison, but didn't know what to get. That's when I saw an ad for a donor in a women’s magazine." Egg donation is a long- drawn process, involving 9-10 days of injections, and the subsequent removal of eggs under general anaesthesia. Specialists say the procedure is safe.

"There are no cuts and the entire procedure is done with the help of a needle guided by ultrasound," assures Dr Deeksha' assists Dr Gupta of Delhi IVF. Unmarried women are turned away from donation, for it leads to the tearing of the hymen during the medical examination, which isn’t held in a good light in many traditional homes.

Dr Gupta recently refused an infertile couple who came with a prospective donor — a laid-off airhostess — because she was unmarried. "We take women who are married and have already had a child. They prove to be fertile," he says.

In some states in the US, even college students donate eggs to pay their tuition fees. "Depending student could receive anything between $5,000 (Rs 2.4 lakh) and $30,000 (Rs 14.5 lakh)," says Dr Sulochana Gunasheela, who runs her own IVF centre in Bangalore.

"Models and women with high IQ invite online bids for their gametes." All this may seem somewhat futuristic, but the way urban India is moving, are we likely to see educated middle-class women catching up with their US counterparts? "If not now, possibly some time in the foreseeable future," says Dr Gunasheela.

(Names of all donors and surrogates have been changed)
Courtesy: Mail Today
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1 comment:

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