Sometime in the next few days I plan to visit Anand, the epicenter of India’s ‘White Revolution’ in the 1970s,80s and beyond. The town, which is less than an hour’s drive from Ahmedabad at twice the prescribed speed limits on the expressway, pioneered milk cooperatives and played a leading role in turning India into a top milk producing nation.
However, my visit has nothing to do with milk.In recent years, Anand has become the world capital of surrogate mothers. Young women in Anand and surrounding areas rent out their wombs to infertile couples from around the world for a fee. Think of their wombs as high-end boutique hotels where life-building materials from the infertile couples lodge in great comfort to eventually produce babies. Babies are checked out after a nine-month paid incubation. Infertile couples get their babies and womb boutique hotel operators their money.
I make surrogacy sound like a matter of guilt-free business transaction which is also totally devoid of any moral complexities. Not having visited the town and not having spoken to those involved in surrogacy, it is probably premature to make a final pronouncement. However, I am not getting the moral complexity part of the rising debate over surrogacy. Why is there no moral debate over a techie renting out his or her coding skills? Or for that matter any professionals leveraging whatever skills, natural or acquired, they possess. If a woman wants to make her uterus work for her financially, what is so morally complex about it?
I shall dwell on a range of issues once I have visited Anand and spoken to all the stakeholders. On the face of it though I see now downside to this, certainly no moral downside to it. Surrogacy is not a moral question as long as it is done out of personal choice.