Maharashtra police uncover a racket in trafficking of human eggs. Poor women persuaded to donate theirs on the back of promises they will be richly compensated. But one of them rebelled and was killed. Dr. Pascoal Carvalho: "The child is never seen as a gift, but as an article to be bought and sold".
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - "Surrogacy has never been in favor of life. It's just a business”, Dr. Pascoal Carvalho, a Catholic doctor and member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, comments to AsiaNews on the murder of a young Indian mother, kidnapped and killed to be able to sell the child and traffic her ova. A side effect of the booming surrogacy industry, in which India is a world leader, the doctor says: "It is a market with a turnover of billions of dollars, largely unregulated and lacking in ethics, full of greed and full of potential dangers".
The story of Madhumati Thakur, 22, came to light this week and has turned the spotlight on trafficking in ovules in Maharashtra. Police in Hadapsar (near the city of Pune) arrested four women and one other person guilty of the murder of the young mother, and attempted sale of her baby.
The mastermind of the racket was Nikita Sanjay Kangne, who approached poor women in the slums of Wanowrie and Hadapsar and convinced her to donate her eggs with the promise of huge sums. The same happened with Madhumati, but she seems to have rebelled and this is why she was killed.
Kangne confessed that she donated her eggs for artificial insemination and was a surrogate mother. The murderer had found work at a fertility center in Vimannagar specializing in in vitro fertilization, which "provided" donors eggs on commission. The clinic paid 15 thousand rupees for every woman [198 euro]; of these, 10 thousand were for the donor and 5 thousand for commission.
The police are trying to figure out if the racket has involved other women, and the odds are very high since the group was active for seven months. Dr. Carvalho, who is also a member of the Diocesan Committee for human life, says: "life is never valued in surrogacy although through deceptive marketing strategies portray this ‘business’ other than commodification of a life . A child is not viewed as a gift but as an item to be procured”.
He adds: “The tens of thousands of embryo’s that are destroyed and the dangers to the commissioned parent, and this uncovering of the murder of the ‘woman’ in Pune, all reveal the bitter truth of surrogacy- the defeat of the inherent value of human life”.
The expert concludes: “While surrogacy, seems, like an attractive alternative as a poor surrogate mother gets very much needed money and an infertile couple gets their long-desired biologically related baby; due to lack of proper legislation, both surrogate mothers and intended parents are somehow exploited and the profit is earned by middlemen and commercial agencies”.
In India the assisted fertilization sector generates about 5 billion dollars [4.4 billion euro] each year and the country has more than 500 clinics. Surrogacy services "produces" 6 thousand children a year, for a profit of one billion dollars. Couples, especially foreign, prefer Indian children because the cost of a surrogate pregnancy is much lower: between 18 and 30 thousand dollars (one third of the price in the US), of which about 8 thousand belong to the woman who is carrying the embryos donated by couples