Wombs For Rent?
A growing phenomena, largely related to the dearth of adequate and affordable health care in the United States, is what has often been called “medical tourism”. People fly to India, Mexico, Thailand, etc. for all sorts of medical (and often cosmetic) issues including bypass surgeries, knee and hip replacements, dental work, eye surgery, you name it.You can typically cut your cost by about 90% for some procedures and hey, you can work in a trip to the beach while you’re there. There are even businesses that help place you, akin to travel agents – except these are travel/hospital agents. There’s even a website for “medical tourism in Iran”. Seems like a poor idea, but maybe that’s just me.
Then I stumbled across this little nugget which details how medical tourism has grown to include outsourcing surrogate pregnancies. I’m not sure this is what they envisioned when they passed NAFTA.
To summarize, this article details a town in India where dozens of women carry the children of infertile couples mostly from the U.S. and Britain. It appears the going rate is $4500, which is apparently what most residents could hope to make in 15 years. The going rate for surrogacy in the U.S. seems to range anywhere from about $20,000 on up to $80,000.
The women they interview do it for the money first, but also see it as a great service to couples who need their help. However, the article also articulates a more sinister side to the notion of “wombs for rent” – that $4500 is such a drop in the bucket for the uber rich, we may see a day when those who are inconvenienced by pregnancy simply pay for someone to carry their child as if they are paying someone to walk their bratty little Bichon Frise.
Add it to the growing pile of ethical dilemmas to debate…