Cashing in on ‘infertility’

With more and more childless couple resorting to Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) to realise their dream of an offspring, newer avenues are opening up for desperate women to make quick money.

While becoming a surrogate fetches a poor woman about Rs.2 lakh, for those who do not want to take up long-term commitment of bearing a child becoming an egg donor has become a preferred alternative. Each time a woman donates her mature eggs, she is paid an amount of Rs. 25,000. ART technologies help a childless couple to get their genetic child through processes like test tube babies and surrogacy.

But those women, who cannot produce an ovum altogether, the only option left is to receive an egg from a donor. And with rising demand for such eggs, many women are coming forward to make a moolah.

“Earlier we had to solicit women to donate their eggs. But now they come to our clinic on their own, some of them regularly. We pay Rs.25,000 for each such donation. Regular donors often refer their friends or relatives to the clinic,” an official at a fertility clinic said.

But though donating eggs fetches handsome amount, it has its own set of problems. “To donate mature ovum, a woman has to undergo a hormonal therapy. Taking this therapy at frequent intervals can be very dangerous for the donor,” K. Anuradha of Anu Test Tube Baby Centre explained. “Due to the lack of proper monitoring mechanism, some poor women are donating their eggs almost every month by visiting different clinics each time. This practice can result in serious damage to the donor’s health,” she explained.

Plenty of choices

Childless couples, who want to receive an ovum from a donor, have plenty of choices. Though the identity of a donor is kept secret, parents can go through the complete profile of the donors, including their height, weight, complexion and even IQ levels, to choose an ‘egg’. And if money is not an issue, the couple can even give attractive physical traits to their surrogate baby by getting an egg from Caucasian women.

“Foreign couples prefer a Caucasian woman because of their attractive physical traits. They are flown down to the city in business class, stay in five star hotels and are paid about $5000,” a fertility clinic employee added.

This article was published in The Hindu on April 12

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