Sunday, May 8, 2005


Despite all the hoopla surrounding the mother’s day, not all moms will have the reasons to exult today. Some will not even be inclined or encouraged to meet the child they carried for nine months, let alone be pampered by filial love.

For ‘mother’ no longer is the last word for selfless love anymore. Motherhood, so well idolized by Bollywood, is under attack from medical science, that has marauded its domain and made motherhood as clinical as an IVS procedure, as soulless as a monetary transaction, or at best, an obligation for someone in the family who can’t conceive.

An article that made me attentive about this new trend is the story of a 26 year old Indian woman who gave birth to a half American boy last year. A former housemaid, she gave away her womb on rent for an NRI couple, who in turn gave her enough money to pay off debts accumulated by her drunkard husband and send her two kids to school. In addition, she got the Big Apple-settled memsahib’s discarded Gucci's. Delivering a Gora child in a swank city gave her a high; the fact that she would never see her child again after it was born does not bother her.

Surrogate motherhood has brought with it a blurring of societal boundaries and a breaking of stereotypes in relationships. If a woman’s womb is unable to carry a child to the full term but her egg and her partner’s sperm is good, a surrogate could have their child for them. Not surprisingly, girls who work in the beauty parlors and house maids are making a killing. With the going rate anything between Rs 50,000 – Rs 1 lakh a child, commercial surrogates are slowly becoming a much sought after lot. Bizarrely, some are in demand only because women with healthy wombs don’t want to distort their figures and cramp their lifestyles with a pregnancy.

Not that the medical fraternity finds anything wrong with the complete lack of emotions in the new stock of ‘mothers’. The doctors maintain that they encourage altruistic surrogacy; by it a completely devastated couple gets the gift of life. So you have a grand mother giving birth to her grand child as a favor for her daughter who is unable to do so. If she’s lucky the child will grow up to call her granny, never mind the birthing pains it gave her on its arrival. In short what the hell? Not all mothers are mothers.

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