When ‘Surrogates’ Die

06.11.2012, 6:11 PM

Kishwar Desai writing at the Guardian (UK):

Premila Vaghela, a poor 30-year-old surrogate mother [in India], died last month, while reportedly waiting for a routine examination at a hospital in Ahmedabad. The news was barely covered by the media – after all, she had completed the task she had been contracted for, and the eight-month-old foetus meant for an American “commissioning” parent survived.

11 Responses to “When ‘Surrogates’ Die”

  1. Mont D. Law says:

    This annoys me so much. A woman dies in child birth in India every 8 minutes. That apparently doesn’t count pregnancy and complications – just child birth. These women only matter in their relationships to other peoples desires. Some rich people’s desire for a baby and your need for a cudgel to beat them with. The others don’t even have rate a name. Nobody seems to care much what the women want or need. Just how they can be exploited.

  2. Alana S. says:

    Good job Monty, let’s all continue to sit back and let them die then.

  3. Ralph Lewis says:

    Two points:

    First, regarding the heading, “when ‘surrogates’ die” — I like this Jonathan Chait take on scare (or sneer) quotes from the subject’s entry in Wikipedia –

    “The scare quote is the perfect device for making an insinuation without proving it, or even necessarily making clear what you’re insinuating.”

    What is the insinuation in this case?

    Secondly, around 500,000 women around the world die each year during childbirth, usually due to lack of basic medical care, virtually none of which are covered by the media. The chance of dying during childbirth in the developing world is anywhere from 10 to 1000 times more likely than in the west. Each death is tragic, regardless of the situation, and regardless of the outcome for the fetus.

  4. Ralph Lewis says:

    I agree that there should be more legal scrutiny of surrogacy and donation. However, there’s something in these words that rings a bell. When I was in college eons ago, there was an active communist political group on campus. If you replace ‘woman’ with ‘worker’ in this paragraph, you would be hearing their basic thesis, which I heard many times thundered through a megaphone.

    I don’t agree with that thesis. I believe in our way of life in the modern west, and believe the threat of exploitation can be minimized through education, transparency, and regulation.

  5. Ralph Lewis says:

    It’s funny you ask that question, as I’m finallly writing my first post in awhile that is somewhat related to that. But I can’t respond anymore this morning — I will tonight.

  6. Ralph Lewis says:


    Question for you, do you consider your children’s genetic mother equally as sacred as your children’s gestational mother (who I understand still plays a role in their life) and equally as sacred as your marriage, your family?

    If you mean sacred in the sense of reverence, the answer is yes, I view all of us who had a hand in their birth as sacred. I don’t know what it means to be “equally as sacred” though. If you view something, or someone, as sacred, as in holy, as containing some divine spark, it simply is, or it isn’t. I can’t rank sacredness. I think I understand what you’re getting at, though, so won’t try to evade the question.

    The divine spark in the world, to me, is both present and invisible. Our kids’ genetic mother is present and, in a soul sense, invisible to me and eventually will be some version of that to our kids. I accept her gift to all of us in my family as sacred, in the same manner as all the other ineffable gifts from the universe that I experience. My husband and kids, however, are present and quite visible (loud, too). Their sacredness to me is very different, in part because I experience it by way of acting in daily, committed, unconditional love towards (and hopefully with) them. It is based on lived reality.

  7. The surrogate mothers are properly cared for and well paid. A substantial amount of the package cost is paid to them as their compensation for carrying your baby. Her compensation is divided into monthly payments with a major sum being paid upon delivery of the baby. In coordination with the gynecologist and a medical social worker, who visits her home regularly upon positive pregnancy, her medical care is routinely maintained with regular visits to the clinic, medications including multi vitamins, mineral and nutritional supplements and ultrasounds. Her husband is encouraged to participate in her visits to the doctor. We also fortify her living environment at home, if required, with gadgets and stuff like refrigerator, air cooler etc. She receives two months of ante natal care under the gynecologist post delivery.