Fertility-frustrated women turning to India - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Fertility-frustrated women turning to India

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Customer service, medical testing, manufacturing… just some of the things that are outsourced to India. Some call it globalization, while others cry exploitation.

Now add to the list -- surrogacy. A growing number of American women are finding women in India to carry their babies.

"My doctor basically told me you have to adopt or choose surrogacy," said Adrienne Arieff.

After 3 miscarriages, 36-year-old Adrienne turned to surrogacy. Her search for a surrogate would lead around the world to India.

"The contracts are much more straightforward, it's more of a one stop shop, just much less red tape, and I had already gone through so much. So something as cliché as just having a little bit more certainty after such an emotional roller coaster was sounding rather appealing."

So Adrienne traveled to India to the Ankansha Infertility Clinic. There she met her surrogate, a 26- year-old Indian woman, Vaina, a happily married mother of three from an impoverished village. The two connected immediately.

"She did say to me, I want you to have what I have, a family."

After in vitro-fertilization in India, her embryos were transferred to Vaina.

Weeks later, back in the states, Adrienne learned the pregnancy was a success.

Vaina, on the other side of the globe, was carrying Adrienne's babies.

"I was just a bit of a crazy person, I think I screamed or something," Adrienne recalled.

Excited, Adrienne returned to India to bond with her surrogate for the last trimester.

"Everyday I would go and see her and we would spend a couple of hours together."

And when Vaina was in delivery, Adrienne was by her side.

"When I saw my babies my first reaction was oh my god they are so cute. I was definitely in love and they were so different. One is named Emma and the other is India. It is quite easy to put their names to their faces. It just fits."

Fraternal twins Emma and India are now 3 years old, and Adrienne shares the experience in her book The Sacred Thread, which started out as a journal for her girls.

"So my girls would have some kind of documentation of how hard it was to have them and how happy we were that they are on this planet now."

Dr. Anita Nagpal is a doctor with Indian Egg Donors in New York City. Her clinic facilitates the entire surrogacy process between the U.S. and India.

"Everything is taken care of by the team in India. We babysit them literally through the whole process," said Dr. Nagpal.

In India, Dr. Shivani Sachdev Gour is the founder and director of a fertility center in New Delhi.

The center gets referrals from U.S. based clinics like Indian Egg Donors. They manage between 20 to 25 surrogacy cases each month. 95 percent are from international clients.

But there are potential pitfalls to surrogacy in India. Dr. Jamie Grifo is the program director of the NYU Fertility Center.

"The financial aspect is important and if it can be done less costly, which some of these countries do, it's an advantage for patients. The problem is you get what you pay for sometimes," said Dr. Grifo.

And while the Indian surrogates are compensated for the job, some argue that surrogacy in India is exploitation.

Others say it is bringing much needed income to the surrogate's family.

"It becomes the story about gender empowerment, that you're helping these poor women out in a way that they really couldn't," said sociologist Susan Mergens.

"Surrogacy is not for everyone. It worked for my husband and I. It was something that worked for us. I wouldn't say it's pleasant and rosy, we had infertility problems and this was our option that ended up working out," said Adrienne.

Health officials say surrogacy in India has become big business, with an estimated 1,500 surrogacy births in 2010, up 50 percent in 2 years.

Part of the demand is financial. In the U.S., the cost of surrogacy is around $100,000. In India, it's about half, and that includes all medical expenses.

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