Surrogacy or adoption?

Source : Google photo of Rumanian orphans waiting for adoption

Synopsis: The issue of surrogacy comes to light because of the advances in the medical technology that makes it possible. Yet it remains a taboo subject in many societies where women prefer to make their own kids whether or not they are financially fit to do so. This results in the population explosion in the poorer class in any country where their biological need overrides the financial and social worries. This blog looks at the option of adoption of orphans as a way to help millions of such children.

Yesterday I was watching a Hindi movie where an American couple who had no children and could not have one went to India to find a strong and healthy woman who could bear their child through surrogacy.

They found a beautiful young woman who was a dancer in a local night club but had dreams of going to Bollywood to become a movie star someday. She needed a lot of money so was finally convinced that she will become a surrogate mother for a large sum of money the American couple offered. She did not understand what surrogacy meant so a fertility clinic doctor explained to her that she did not have to sleep with the American in order to get pregnant. This is where the modern technology came in.

So the young woman got pregnant but she was unmarried so it created quite a scandal in the community where she lived not to mention her own parents and relatives so she stayed with her Moslem friend somewhere during the pregnancy who hid her in her safe house.

In due course of time she gave birth to a healthy male child who was very fair and had blue eyes. But the doctor in the fertility clinic had warned the would be American parents that the child may be born with some birth defect so they decided not to accept the child and went home. But the doctor was wrong because the child was born healthy.

The child was loved by her mother and all the people who showered their love on him as he was growing up with food, gifts and numerous other things. The child knew no other family.

Later the American couple came back to claim their son when they knew that he was born normal and was healthy but now came a twist in the story when the young woman refused to hand over her son to the Americans because she was his mother and suffered all the pains of childbirth .She was very attached to her son and would not part with him which happens frequently in such cases of surrogacy. Her relatives supported her and were willing to fight it out in the court but their lawyer suggested that the court would favor the American couple in this case because it was a contract they had agreed upon.

To make the long story short, the final outcome was that the young mother agreed to hand over the child to his American parents because she saw a better future for him in America than in India. All of her relatives were against her because they loved the kid and wanted her to keep him.

So one day the American couple came to a meeting but surprised the young woman by saying that she deserves the boy more than them and they also have found a beautiful orphan girl they adopted so they are happy. This was a happy ending for everybody but in real life such happy endings are not guaranteed.

This movie made me think about surrogacy and adoption and their merits and disadvantages. In the case of surrogacy, there may be complications as was shown in the movie because the complications are more common than one can imagine.

In the case of this young woman, she was the real biological mother of the child because she received just the sperm that was artificially injected into her but she did the rest herself.

But in other cases where a sperm fertilizes an egg in vitro in a lab and later introduced into a woman, she becomes a true surrogate but may also develop an attachment to the new born and may refuse to hand over the baby. If there is no problem then everybody is happy but if there are problems then it may be a point of contention and even a legal case.

So I was thinking that the American couple came to a wise decision by giving up their claim on the boy child and adopting a child from an orphanage so it was a happy ending for everybody especially the boy and his mother.

Once I had advised a couple in India to adopt a child because their daughter died of a birth defect so they were very unhappy. I told them that an adopted child will know them as the real parent and will bring them the joy and happiness that was missing from their life. Later they found a baby girl in a hospital where her mother had abandoned her and fled because perhaps she was illegitimate that could have caused her mother some social problems, India being a very traditional society.

Now that child is a healthy girl of ten and is doing very well in her school. But adoption is rare in India because women tend to produce their own children and do not accept an adopted child. It is more of a social issue than anything else. Adopted children and step children are not very well accepted by the step mother or father because of this social prejudice while in other countries it is not an issue. I have friends who have adopted several children and have given them all their love and support but India lags far behind when it comes to adoption let alone the issue of surrogacy that is a very new concept to most women.

There is also a gender bias in India where women prefer male children so there are horrific statistics on female infanticide because of this gender bias. Many women secretly abort their female children because they consider them as liabilities so the hospitals are not allowed to disclose the gender of the baby before birth to prevent female infanticide.

Our own daughter who was born in an Indian hospital was not given a birth certificate with her name on it that was fortunately corrected later. Women showed their disappointment just because she was a girl and the trans genders who show up at the gate demanding money and gifts if a male child is born did not show up. We were happy that we had a beautiful child and relieved when the trans genders did not come to demand money.

The point is that whether you have a child of your own or through surrogacy or adoption, a child always brings joy to the parents and grandparents irrespective of the gender. It is a grave mistake some parents make to favor their sons over daughters because such daughters grow up feeling less loved that may develop in them a sense of insecurity and of low self-esteem. But a child who is loved and cared for by his or her parents equally becomes a successful person and surprises her parents in very unexpected ways. ( Please read my blog on Akiane Kramarik here )

The feudal social norms in India perpetuate the myth of the superiority of male over the female so the bias against female children is built into their mentality. It is a serious social issue that needs to change but such changes are very slow to come in the patriarchal societies in India. I have seen a slow change in the attitude of women now who tend to have fewer children than their previous generation due to the economic issues but more women need to overcome their bias and support female children whether their own or adopted. Surrogacy is still very far from their mind.

The gender bias exists everywhere resulting in lower and slower promotion of female causes in the workplace, in education and in many other situations although that is slowly changing. The rural population in many countries that is less educated and poorer than their counterparts in cities is more prone to the gender bias against women because of their firm belief that women are good only for home and hearth. Their religious beliefs also play a significant role in their gender bias that favor boys over girls.

Now with free education for all, more and more girls are going to school everywhere that gives them the opportunity to break free of the home and hearth scenarios. So I believe that only the education and special skills training for all opens up doors for all for new opportunities for them that were not available previously.

You may not believe it but there are over 150 million children worldwide who are anxiously waiting to be adopted legally. Most are orphans who have lost their parents to war or natural calamities while others may be illegitimate children abandoned by their biological parents due to social stigma and restrictions. The governments of many countries run orphanages that are poorly funded, poorly run and where children may suffer abuses and even molestations ( read my blog on Abuse of children here ) that do not meet the demand adequately.

I therefore applaud all the parents who adopt children and raise them as their own with all the love and care they can muster. Most women can produce children but to raise them properly and give them all the opportunities to reach their full potential is another matter that needs very serious consideration.

Source : Syrian war orphan waiting for adoption

Just remember that there are millions of orphans who need your love and protection so bring them home and raise them as your own. You will never regret it because such children will enrich your lives beyond your greatest expectations. The American couple made the right decision.

Also read my blog Adoption is an act of Altruism.

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I am the village bard who loves to share his stories.