Surrogacy in India and the United States: The Baby Supermarket Is Open for Business

A year ago, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls promised that surrogacy was and would remain prohibited in France, while also promising an international initiative. The Gavroches* have noted that nothing has come of this.

The Gavroches call to mind the imaginary world of “Les Misérables” to reinvent a national novel [for today’s world]. These children of the barricades and lovers of the arts campaign to bring political debate back to the streets and create dialogue.

Doctor Patel has planned everything: the ground floor is for consultations, the upper floors contain a hotel for parents and the basement accommodates over a hundred pregnant women at a time.

In a dozen years, Dr. Sejal Patel has already produced more than 800 babies, born to Indian surrogate mothers and mostly destined to Western couples. In a country where the average income is $0.6 a day, being a surrogate mother is a godsend that can be expected to bring between $8,000 and $10,000 per pregnancy. For the commissioning parents, it will cost between $28,000 and $30,000.

Surrogacy Market Is Worth More than a Billion Dollars in India Alone

The doctor was on to something, as the surrogacy market is worth more than a billion dollars in India alone. So the fertility specialist, trained in the United States, listened to her generous heart. She helps her compatriots in distress, as well as childless foreign couples. And if this altruism allows her to become a millionaire, then so be it.

Surrogacy in India is a bit like a megastore of babies for sale, a caricature of a totally free market economy inviting itself into the maternity debate. It’s hardly equipped to defend it!

But there are partisans who defend ethical surrogacy, as it is practiced in the United States, for example. There, it’s a wonderland for surrogacy, but at a higher price for the buyer — a minimum of $80,000 is the price you pay for a clear conscience.

But don’t fear, the surrogate mother is not paid; she just receives fees for medical care, for clothes and compensation for any inconvenience caused. This is all included in a contract drawn up by the lawyer who puts the surrogate mother and the commissioning parents on the same level. Far from the [image of] Indian baby factories, the surrogate mother is perceived as a donor. She donates a child to those who cannot have one, as she has already had the pleasure of having one and wishes to share the joys of parenthood.

Packaged in this way, surrogacy seems ethical, at the heart of a controlled market economy, which respects people [under this rubric]. However, ethical or not, surrogacy still requires the same ingredients: on the one hand, a woman who sells her body as a commodity and on the other hand, a couple who has the necessary capital to order the product of their dreams. As with prostitution, surrogacy turns the body into a commodity, a commercial object, forcing the female body to enter the market.

And seeing as you’re ordering a baby, why not order the perfect baby? The surrogacy market has it all planned. The egg donor will not be the one to carry the baby; by multiplying the maternal work staff, it is possible to weaken the link between each one of them and the baby. There, too, the market economy comes into play. Rates vary according to the donor’s level of study, physical characteristics, etc. The most popular donors are young white girls with high IQs — these are the chickens that lay golden eggs. In this way, surrogacy is the human version of modern breeding: from selection of the perfect egg to insemination in a living being reduced to her capacity to bear a human that meets the expectations of the market economy. If in India it’s a case of intensive farming, in the United States it’s organic, but that’s just a different way to cook. The final dish remains the same: the commercialization of maternity.

In this unprincipled liberal market, it’s the American agencies who are profiting by matching up interested parties, drawing up the contracts and ensuring a result that lives up to the buyers’ requirements. They organize exhibitions, tour European countries to recruit prospective parents, and in doing so capitalize on the suffering of straight or homosexual couples in want of a child.

The business is ripe and the intermediaries make a pretty penny along the way …

A year ago, Manuel Valls reaffirmed that surrogacy was and would remain illegal in France, denouncing the unsupportable practice of commercializing human beings and commodifying women’s bodies. He even went as far as advocating an international initiative. [It’s] a year later and nothing has been done to combat surrogacy. On the contrary, the Council of State’s decision has even legalized it by automatically registering the birth of children born abroad through surrogacy.

Government Fairy Tales

This socialist government’s inaction is shocking, as the fight against wild capitalism should be their main dish served. But then again, let’s not forget that the left lost interest in the class struggle long ago, preferring a menu of libertarian liberalism seasoned with a bit of equality sauce.

So, Manuel Valls, what have you done for the Marxist struggle?

*Editor’s note: The name Gavroche has become synonymous with an urchin or “street child.”

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