Categorized | Taboo

Smothering Poverty with Surrogate Mothers

Posted on 05 May 2010 by .

“Troubling questions surround surrogate-born children in India” is an article that was published in The Star earlier this week. Being someone who reads articles with a very critical lens, I was pleased to read how the writer explored various aspects of the issue of surrogate mothers. These ranged from the debate about the citizenship of the surrogate-born offspring to raising awareness about poverty in India, on individual and global scales. Although of course there was the reference to the hit movie “Slumdog Millionaire” that we have all grown used to describing poverty in India. But that’s a whole different feature…

What was most intriguing, to me, about the article were the stream of comments left by readers. While many were against the idea of surrogates and that several Canadians pay thousands of dollars to women in India to bear their child for 9 months, (provided, there were also valid points made that there is a global abundance of orphans), I admired those who defended the poverty-stricken, and often single-mothers who make use of the limited outlets of basic survival that enable them to support their children.

However, not to imply that I don’t value different opinions and free speech, since that would be contradictory to this piece, but amidst the facts, figures, and anecdotes in the article why are there so many readers who are in agreement that Indian women are being exploited by Canadians?

When the surrogate mothers and doctors themselves vouch for the fact that both parties (the surrogate mother and the ‘womb-buyers’, for lack of a better term) gain much out of this system, it is interesting to read that many still believe the surrogates are being exploited. But then again, every coin has two sides. Are there surrogate mothers out there in such a system that will say they are exploited, if provided the opportunity to have a voice?

All sorts of avenues are explored to eradicate poverty; we see it, hear it, and read it, everyday. The article was probably one of the most concrete pieces of evidence I’ve read about in a while that confirms that poverty reduction is in action. Perhaps not on the global scale that we all hope for but such things don’t simply occur overnight. Sure, there is skepticism around the paperwork and citizenship of surrogate-born children; sure, there are other countries with similar issues that are not as scrutinized for, and of course this is more of just an individual issue. So why not fix the system, change the laws, and take a step to support such an act of selflessness and sacrifice for the future generations? We live in a world where strife and life are results of causes and effects; people lose while others gain; people criticize and we also praise.

To some of the medical professionals in Anand, Gujarat (as mentioned in The Star), this may be a daily reality. But perhaps what holds the most significance at the end of the day is that they are providing a helping hand to alleviate the trials and tribulations that surrogate mothers shoulder to be able to provide the basic needs to their family and children; it raises the question of how privileged people, due to their circumstances, can be instrumental in building lives that others not only dream of, but are entitled to.

Author: Poonam Patel

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