This month, my editor directed me to write about women in their forties having children. I was truly astonished by the plethora of women who have either waited to have their children later in life.
Some have tried in vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy or adoption. I recently saw a news story about how a woman carried her own grandchild so her daughter could have a child. Words cannot describe this miraculous and incredible token of love.
While researching other options for women to have a baby, I came across a story about surrogacy in India.
In this day and age, we can rent-a-car, rent-a-friend and now you can even rent-a-womb.
One woman, Adrienne Arieff, wrote a book titled "The Sacred Thread: A True Story of Becoming a Mother and Finding a Family — Half a World Away," about her experience with surrogacy in India. Arieff experienced three miscarriages and her doctor recommended adoption or surrogacy.
Arieff began researching surrogacy in the United States, as well as overseas. Surrogacy overseas is also known as foreign gestational surrogacy or commercial surrogacy.
According to the New York Times, India legalized commercial surrogacy in 2002 whereas many states and European countries have banned this practice.
Interestingly enough, the cost of surrogacy in India costs between $25,000 to $30,000 dollars while the cost of surrogacy in the United States between $60,000 to $75,000 dollars.
An article in the New York Times stated the costs of a commercial surrogacy in India included:
• Airline tickets and hotels for two trips to India (one for the fertilization and a second to collect the baby)
• Payment to the surrogate mother, which is often, but not always, done through the clinic
• The medical procedures
Arieff’s book is about her emotional journey to become a mother. It also details her bond with the surrogate mother and how two women from thousands of miles away come together to celebrate life.
In an interview with CNN, Arieff stated, ʺwe'd do things like braid each other's hair, do each other's makeup. We don't speak the same language so the relationship was based on these basic human principles and exchanges.ʺ
Arieff acknowledged surrogacy is a business transaction and a win-win situation for all parties. One party pays for the baby or babies of their dreams and at the same time the surrogate mother receives payment which may be equivalent to 10-15 years of salary.
The New York Times confirmed that the surrogate mother’s name is not on the birth certificate which eases the process of taking the baby out of the country.
Foreign gestational surrogacy is not for everyone. But as Lisa Switzer stated in an interview with the New York Times, “Doctors, lawyers, accountants, they can afford it, but the rest of us — the teachers, the nurses, the secretaries — we can’t. Unless we go to India.”
Would you considerer commercial or international surrogacy?
Arieff, A. & West, B. about the book | The Sacred Thread. home | The Sacred Thread. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from
Gentleman, A. India Nurtures Business of Surrogate Motherhood - New York Times. The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/10/world/asia/10surrogate.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
Grinberg, E. The highs and lows of foreign surrogacy - CNN.com. CNN.com - Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from
Reviewed April 9, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith