Patel chooses among the women who appear at the clinic, at least three a day, hoping to hire out their wombs. She pairs the surrogates with infertile couples, catering to an increasingly international clientele base — from 13 foreign couples in 2006 to 85 in 2009. And she oversees the negotiations between them. The entire process costs customers around $23,000 — less than one-fifth of the going rate in the U.S. — of which the surrogate mother usually receives about $7,500 in installments. Patel implants the women with embryos, using specimens from sperm or egg donors if necessary. Once pregnant, the surrogates are housed onsite until delivery, in a dormitory that was once a local tax office, so that they can be supervised. But under the new legislation, Patel will be permitted to supervise nothing but surgery.
Under the new rules, surrogates will be able to negotiate their own rates and will receive health insurance. And children must be guaranteed citizenship from the patents' country before the procedure can be done. Of course, once the exploitation factor is gone, prices may rise and bargain hunters may have to look elsewhere. Read more in this TIME article by Hillary Brenhouse. Link -via Digg
(Image credit: Ajit Solanki/AP)