More Americans Now Traveling to India for Surrogate Pregnancy

Less red tape for would-be parents, but does it create a 'baby factory?'

ByABC News
April 27, 2010, 11:28 AM

HYDERBAD, India,— April 27, 2010 -- Victor and Mary Hui-Wee tried for more than 20 years to have a child, testing the limits of medical science. They attempted in-vitro fertilization at least three times, with no success and $45,000 in medical bills.

After finding it difficult to adopt in the U.S. because of their age (she is 43, he is 48) , the couple left their home in Kalamazoo, Mich. and traveled half way around the world to India. The couple joined a growing number of Americans who are hiring Indian women to be surrogate mothers to their babies.

Another of those Americans, Brad Fister, came to a hospital in Hyderabad, India after he and his partner Michael Griebe were unable to arrange a surrogacy in the U.S.

"We had a lot of legal complications with the surrogate," said Fister.

An agency called 'Surrogacy Abroad' offered him a simpler solution and a second chance, arranging everything for roughly $50,000 -- less than half of what it usually costs in the U.S.

Using Fister's sperm and a donor egg, an embryo was created and implanted into a surrogate.

The surrogate was prohibited from using her own eggs out of concern that she might feel an attachment to the child.

Nine months later, Fister and Griebe had the baby girl of their dreams they named Ashton.

India is one of the few countries in the world where international surrogacy is available. Other countries include Panama, Malaysia, Ukraine, Georgia, and Guatemala.

In Hyderabad's Kiran Hospital, as many as 15 surrogates are pregnant at any given time.

Critics call places like these "baby factories," and claim that the women who carry the babies are vulnerable to exploitation. Most of the women are poor and uneducated, and live in cramped conditions in the hospital which they're allowed to leave only once or twice a week.