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Twinkle Khanna Writes Blog on Surrogacy

  • JWB Post
  •  May 11, 2015

On the eve of Mother’s Day, Twinkle Khanna’s article on surrogacy appeared on the internet. In the article ‘A Bun In A Rented Oven’, Twinkle speaks on behalf of the women who rent their wombs to childless couples. She suggests that there should be laws to protect a surrogate.
Let’s read what Twinkle has to say about surrogacy. [the article was 1st published here] :
“It was a strange malady that struck without any warning.

One day I was running around at jet speed and the next day it was difficult to get out of bed. Finally I went to the doctor who duly informed me that I now had a bun in my oven. I was further informed that I must start drinking milk because if this little creature doesn’t get enough calcium, it will leach it out of my very bones.

And yes, though this tiny being does carry some mangled version of my gene code, it could also be carrying dominant genes from my mother-in-law and thus while Mummyji dominates my life from the outside, a mini version of her could be doing the same to me on a cellular level as well.

Things started changing. I started losing my mind while gaining inches and had to deal with complications that kept cropping up, some serious and some not as much.

Finally after months of this torture, it was time to take on a task that was akin to pushing out a cantaloupe through the eye of a needle.I pushed, I strained, I screamed and finally I think a truck just ran over me and it was over.

A few hours later, I was lying on my hospital bed, battered beyond comprehension and as the man of the house was adjusting his pillow and stretching out on the couch that would serve as his bed that night, he murmured, “This is really difficult!“ I weakly smiled, grateful that he, at least, understood my plight and replied, “Yes it is but don’t worry, I will be fine, this shall also pass.“

And he said, “No, I meant it is so difficult to sleep on this sofa, so uncomfortable, no?“ Since my hand was still hooked to an IV pole I couldn’t smack him on the head; but sheer exhaustion took over and I fell asleep just to wake up exactly seven minutes later, when it was time to feed the baby.

A month later I needed to go for my first postpartum check up. My regular doctor was not in town so I went to see another practitioner.The attendant there recognized me and all starry-eyed, took my blood pressure and checked my weight in a tiny room while I was waiting for the doctor.

The attendant whispered: “Madam, you saw lady in blue dress, sitting in waiting room? She is getting baby tomorrow.“

The gossipy attendant then went on to tell me that the lady was having a baby through surrogacy .

Surrogacy is a whole new unlabelled can of worms: a rented oven to bake your bun. A boon for people who cannot have children naturally and desperately want them but these days also misused by some women who simply choose to outsource this task to another woman: a surrogate.

The surrogate gets around Rs 1.5-2 lakh for this hardship; of this, a cut generally goes to the middleman. Her body is bombard ed with unaccountable quantities of hormones, all of which have significant side-effects. The couple may insist that she eat rich foods she is not used to and which may play havoc with her metabolism.

She may conceive triplets due to the large number of embryos put inside her but she has to proceed with this high-risk pregnancy anyway. If she miscarries at any point, she is usually paid nothing.

If all goes well, one fine day, she is cut open, the child is removed and she is never seen again.

Surrogacy is medical science’s greatest gift to childless couples but shouldn’t there be laws to protect the surrogate as well? There isn’t even a national register with records of how many pregnancies a surrogate has already been through and the probable danger to her life if she undergoes yet another one.

As of now there are only guidelines that cover surrogacy and the Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill has still not been presented in Parliament.

A study by the United Nations in 2012 stated that surrogacy is a business worth around $400 million a year and there are more than 3,000 fertility clinics all over India. And without stringent laws, the potential for exploitation is tremendous.

As I was reading up on surrogacy on my iPad, the doctor walked in and I started questioning him about the moral and ethical issues involved in the process. He just peered at me and without giving me a single answer -and to probably shut me up -declared that I needed to lose 13 kilos in the next three months. I merely replied, “Of course doctor, I can achieve this target by next week -I just have to cut both my arms off.”

I left the clinic but the image of rooms filled with scores of pregnant women cooped up together till it was harvesting day, did not leave me.”

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