As life-changing as the experience is for new parents, it is equally life-changing for surrogate mothers in India. According to Dr. Patel, each woman receives a payment of approximately $5,000—which is equivalent to almost 10 years' salary. Lisa says the money has allowed some families to move to nice family homes and to provide a good education for their children.
To be eligible for Dr. Patel's program, women must meet certain criteria, such as being younger than 45 years old. "Two out of 10 is the average where we have to refuse [potential surrogates]. [We tell them], 'You are not fit. You are overage. And I don't think you can carry the pregnancy and delivery in a proper way,'" she says.
Another prerequisite is that all surrogates must already have their own child. "She wants to try and ensure that the surrogates don't develop any kind of emotional attachment," Lisa says.
Being a surrogate has drawbacks, too, Lisa says. "There's still a pretty big stigma attached to surrogacy in India. Especially in the villages, they don't really understand the science behind it, so sometimes they think the woman got impregnated by another man," Lisa says. "There's so many sorts of rumors about it."