Entertainment Bollywood 11 Mar 2017 SRK, Aamir, Karan: I ...

SRK, Aamir, Karan: Is surrogacy the new way for film stars?

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Mar 11, 2017, 12:00 am IST
Updated Mar 11, 2017, 12:22 pm IST
Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan’s second son AbRam was born through a surrogate mother.
 Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan’s second son AbRam was born through a surrogate mother.

After Karan Johar announced that he had become a father to two children through surrogacy a few days ago, it is now rumoured that more celebrities, both single and couples, are lining up to find out how they can do it too — even as a pending legislation in the country seeks to put an end to single parenthood through surrogacy.

Karan was said to have been talked into the procedure by fellow filmmaker Farah Khan and actor Shah Rukh Khan’s wife Gauri, who had both gone through IVF and surrogacy respectively. Word of mouth seems to have worked best to promote surrogacy in the country, at least in the entertainment industry.

Lakshmi Manchu became the first from Tollywood to have a baby via surrogacy when her daughter Vidya Nirvana was born, and says she still advises people about the process. “I have advised many who have wanted to opt for surrogacy but didn’t know how to go about it. In fact, I have personally spoken to over 60 people and even sent them to my doctor,” says Lakshmi.

Couples only
While the law on surrogacy is yet to be passed, the bill’s features are being implemented since October last year, when it was first introduced in Parliament — affecting singles and individuals from the LGBT communities the most.

Hyderabad-based fashion designer Ganesh Nallari believes that while the bill’s intent is right, it shouldn’t discriminate against those who are single and want a child.

He says, “Two years ago, I was tempted to take up surrogacy and even wrote to a lawyer seeking all the legal details; whether as a gay person, I could go with surrogacy or adoption". "At that time, the lawyer said that the laws were not very clear regarding it. There is a lot of commercialisation happening in this field, but at the end of the day, it is bringing joy to a person and that should be given more importance,” he says.

Shutting the market
Dr Preethi Reddy, an infertility expert at Rainbow Hospitals says, “The bill focuses on ending the big commercial market for surrogacy in India. There is a huge sum of money involved, and in the last 10 years, India has become a huge market.

According to the bill, single parents opting for surrogacy won’t be allowed to do so and one of the partners has to be of Indian origin to take it forward.” She adds that only married couples with genuine medical problems will be able to opt for it.

Dr Suma Prasad, IVF Specialist at Prasad Hospitals, that has put a hold on surrogacy processes since October, adds that the ban will also affect couples who could be given the option of surrogacy.

“In the entire country, there are approximately 19 million couples who are infertile, and of these, there are genuinely about 1 in 100 couples who might need surrogacy. But because there’s a third party involvement and a strict law now, it’s not easy to practice this specialty,” says Dr Suma.

Before the ban, Dr Suma says that only five to six couples would be given the option of surrogacy in a year, even though interest levels in the process have certainly spiked in the last few years.

Dr Preethi adds, “The number of requests for surrogacy is far more than the actual number of people going for it. As a doctor, we sometimes advise them to go for surrogacy due to a medical condition, but sometimes, people approach us on their own. Once they get to know all the minute details about the procedure — such as getting their own surrogate mother, they fall back or it takes time to find one, even though there are a few facilitators who act as middlemen. In a year, the total number going through the whole surrogacy procedure is at the most, three.”

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