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Outsourcing That Kind Of Labor

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Originally from Gus Van Horn,

What with Paul Hsieh and David Veksler recently blogging about some interesting innovations brought to us by capitalism, I have not only felt a little left out. I have wanted to be able to blog one of my own and say, "Top this!"

Well. I think I can now.

Driven by many of the same factors that have led Western businesses to outsource some of their operations to India in recent years, an increasing number of infertile couples from abroad are coming here in search of women such as [saroj]Mehli who are willing, in effect, to rent out their wombs.

Yes. We are now outsourcing surrogate motherhood! And given the recent rise of India as a destination for medical tourism, as well as the hostility of the American legal system to surrogate motherhood, it was, in retrospect, only a matter of time before this innovation would happen.

Both parties sign a contract under which the intended parents pay for medical care and the surrogate renounces rights to the baby, a provision that relieves the fears of many foreign couples. In the U.S., for example, where laws vary from state to state, the surrogate sometimes has a window of opportunity after the birth to stake a claim on the child, which can precipitate nightmarish custody battles.

...

She acknowledged that money was the primary reason these women had queued up to be surrogates; without it, the list would be short, if not nonexistent. Payment usually ranges from about $2,800 to $5,600, a fortune in a country where annual per capita income hovers around $500.

...

The American who has hired Mehli said he and his wife had discussed all options for having a child in light of her hysterectomy 10 years ago. Surrogacy was one possibility, but at a minimum of $20,000 to $25,000 in the U.S., "the expenses involved were almost beyond my reach," said the man, who asked that he be identified only by his last name, Singh, because of the delicate subject.

Given the trend towards many women seeking professional careers and so putting off childbirth, I would expect this practice to become much more common as word spreads.

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