Recently,I read of a Delhi couple who had a baby through a surrogate mother. This,in itself,is hardly unusual as there is currently a thriving surrogacy business in India. Many local women are prepared to rent their wombs and carry somebody elses baby to term. These women are presumably well compensated for their labour and everyone seems to benefit including the doctors and agencies that facilitate this procedure. I have met several childless couples from different parts of the world who came to India for the express purpose of engaging a desi surrogate. While some complained of feeling extorted by unscrupulous agents,most couples seem to have gone away ecstatic,taking with them a gurgling bundle of joy.
What piqued my interest about this Indian duo from Delhi was that they wanted a child with very fair skin. The husband is apparently a gora munda and the couple was unable to locate a desi donor on the database who matched the mans milky complexion.
Hence,they decided to engage the services of a Caucasian girl who was flown to India to donate her eggs. The Westerners eggs were then fertilised with the husbands sperm to create an embryo that would ostensibly yield a sparkling white baby. The pardesi girl came to Mumbai,deposited her eggs at a private fertility clinic and promptly flew back home. For her time and services,she was compensated with Rs 8 lakh. Interestingly,a local Indian woman was then hired to carry the embryo in her womb and dutifully deliver the precious cargo after nine months. The news article made no mention of how much she was paid. I am sure the Delhi couple must be thrilled with their designer baby and hope,for their sake,it has emerged the desired shade of pale.
According to infertility experts,international websites and donor-locating agencies are easily available on the Internet. One can now import a white egg or sperm donor and then pay an Indian to lug it around,much like an aayah.
Given the Indian obsession for fairness and all things foreign,it is easy to imagine a glut of wealthy parents who will want gora babies. And why stop at manufacturing white kids? We can also engineer babies using sperm or eggs from brilliant
scientists,athletes and models,and give our children a much-needed edge in todays fiercely competitive world. Soon,we can create a race of super-white,super bright babies.
A thought-provoking book written by Ira Levin in the 1970s,called The Boys from Brazil,which later made into a film,tells of 94 clones that were created from Hitlers DNA using surrogate mothers. Several decades later,we seem intent on customising our own pardesi boy.