A bridge between surrogate mother and hospital ; to ensure that the woman is paid the promised money

When Anita* offered her womb for rent, she believed she would earn enough to tide over her debts. The 30-year-old became interested after an ‘ akka ’ in her locality had earned Rs. 3 lakh for delivering a child for a couple. The friend introduced her and two other women in her locality to a middleman who assured her a similar amount.

“I used to take the 4C bus and get off at Adyar. The man would take me to the hospital by autorickshaw. I don’t know to read or write so I could never identify the hospital,” she said. The same practice was also followed even while she was pregnant and had to make regular visits to the hospital. When she was asked if she would like to stay in the hospital until childbirth, she agreed.

Though she was taken good care of during pregnancy and childbirth, when it was time to return home, she received only a small portion of the promised amount. She approached the doctor who said that the hospital had paid the full amount to the man who had hired her. “The two other women were also similarly cheated of their money,” Anita said.

However, the experience of another woman, Shanthi*, who has four children of her own, was different. The 35-year-old was paid Rs. 3 lakh for renting her uterus. Nonetheless, none of these women know who hired them to become surrogate mothers.

On Friday, around 10 women who had donated their eggs and six women who had been surrogate mothers shared their experiences at the launch of Global Surrogate Mothers Advancing Rights Trust. A.J. Hariharan, who runs the Trust, said the idea was to be the bridge between the surrogate mother and the hospital and ensure that the woman is paid the promised money. “We have identified around 15 hospitals in the city who seek help in surrogacy and we will be working with them,” he said.

The hospitals include Chennai Fertility Centre, Akash Fertility Centre, Madras Medical Mission, Apollo Hospitals, Prasanth Fertility Centre, Iswarya Women’s Hospital and Fertility Centre, Bloom Fertility Centre, Nagamani Hospital, GG Hospital and Chettinad Health City and Women Centre.

(*Names changed)

Middlemen often cheat many surrogate mothers by giving them less than promised sum