Doctors in the city break down surrogacy, the risks it entails and more.
Published: 26th January 2022 04:27 AM | Last Updated: 26th January 2022 04:27 AM | A+A A-
For representational purposes
HYDERABAD: After actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas announced the arrival of her child via surrogacy, some netizens have passed uninformed comments on social media. Many have also shared apprehensions and fears about the process. CE speaks to obstetrician-gynaecologists in the city, who break down the process, risks and myths surrounding surrogacy.
Dr Sarala K, senior gynaecologist, laparoscopic surgeon and infertility specialist at Saavi Clinic in Yousufguda, begins by explaining the types of surrogacy. “There are two types of surrogates — traditional and gestational. In the first, the surrogate gets pregnant with the male semen.
Even though she is the biological mother of the child, after childbirth, she will have to give up the child as part of the pre-agreement. Gestational surrogacy involves the fertilisation of a (probably infertile) woman’s egg with a man’s sperm (probably infertile), and the embryo is then placed in the surrogate’s uterus. The latter gives birth to the baby on time under medical supervision. Most couples choose gestational surrogacy. The surrogate mother has no right over the child.”
Padma Shri Dr Manjula Anagani explains when people are medically indicated to go for surrogacy. “When the uterus of a woman trying to conceive is problematic, not conducive and suffers from any condition that attacks the foetus when she gets pregnant, that’s when we know that the mother can’t get pregnant, as it would harm the life of the mother and the baby. The above reasons are good enough for medical indication of surrogacy. There are others who choose it for cosmetic reasons, but that is not legal in India. The procedure for surrogacy starts only after it is properly documented that a couple is infertile. It has to be altruistic and not for commercial reasons.”
The other reasons include, when pregnancy is medically impossible (e.g., absent/badly damaged uterus), when pregnancy carries dangerous risks for the woman, or when a single man or male couple wish to have child. Asked what requirements surrogate mothers and an infertile couple have to meet, Dr Manjula says, “The couple should be diagnosed of infertility, has to be financially stable, and be in a condition to raise the child. The surrogate mother must be healthy, should not have donated her organs before the procedure and have two children of her own.
This helps doctors understand that she has no complications with pregnancy, because a C-section could prove dangerous. A clear cut legal bond is signed between the couple and the surrogate, who also promise to take up the responsibility of the surrogate’s insurance. They will also be made to promise to not desert the baby in the future in case of separation, divorce, etc.”
Dr Majula estimates the cost of invitro fertilisation to be anywhere between Rs 2.5 to Rs 3.5 lakh. “This, plus the general insurance cost of the surrogate mother, which should be around Rs 2,000-Rs 5,000. Not to forget, that the surrogate mother is usually a relative or friend helping the couple out. The surrogate mother being paid for the process has been made illegal in India,” the doctor adds.
Does the process entail any risk? Dr Sarala says, “The surrogate mother is screened thoroughly — both physically and psychologically — and the procedure is done by experts with close monitoring. Practically speaking, there are no major risks involved by the surrogate mother. But to a certain extent, there is emotional and psychological stress.
Some studies point out the risk of postpartum depression and emotional attachment to the baby.” Finally, we ask if the children born via surrogacy show any difference from those traditionally conceived. Dr Manjula assures, “There’s absolutely no difference, because the baby is genetically the couple’s. They have the right to choose if they’d want the surrogate to breastfeed the baby, but most of them choose not to, given the risk of emotional attachment.”
Debunking the myths
Is surrogacy immoral?
No. Surrogacy is a scientific boon to infertile couples, especially women who are born without a uterus
Is surrogacy illegal?
No. It is legal with certain regulations which vary among jurisdictions
Is surrogacy only for the rich?
No. It is for the couple that needs it
Is surrogacy an unethical choice of celebrities?
No. It is one’s own reproduction choice under certain regulatory norms
Will there be no maternal bonding with the child born out of surrogacy?
No. The bonding between parents and surrogate children exists. It is not only birthing, but bringing up a child that creates a bond
(That happens to all fathers in the world)
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