For this homemaker, it's like any other job

She gets Rs 4.2L for renting her womb, climbs out of poverty

Unlike most other surrogate mothers, I was lucky to have been allowed to see the face of the child I mothered,” reveals a shy Zeenat Parvin (name changed). As a surrogate mother in Delhi, she is lucky in more ways than one.

The chance to be a surrogate provided this 30-year-old homemaker from West Bengal the much needed money to educate her kids, to meet their little demands and to buy a house. She appears lost in listing out what all she has done and would do with the Rs 4,20,000 she received for renting her womb to a Bangladeshi couple.

“It (being a surrogate mother) is like any other proper job to me. The parents need a child, I need the money. I am paid for giving them nine months of my time and undergoing the pain,” she says as a matter of fact.

Parvin claims it is the ‘job’ factor that kept her detached from the child she gave birth to less than a month ago. Also the fact that the clauses in the surrogacy contract were read out to her at the beginning itself kept her mentally prepared.

‘No emotional attachment’

“I never felt an inclination towards the child. There is anyway no point doing any sort of drama since the contract papers are signed beforehand and I know it well that I have to relinquish the child after birth,” she says.

When implored further, the homemaker acknowledges that a little bit of emotional attachment does creep in since the child had been carried in her womb for nine whole months. “But I convinced myself to feel happy that because of me someone else was going to feel the joy of parenthood,” she says.

Yet, it was not an easy decision for her despite numerous women in her locality already having been surrogate mothers. Though this factor gave a sense of acceptability in her locality in Garhi area of Lajpat Nagar, she had to deliberate with her husband for some four months.

The financial condition of her house and what changes could be brought about by the money had the last say, and she could finally muster the courage to go ahead with the decision. Her husband, a tailor, provided ample support and encouragement.

Her two children, a boy and girl aged 14 and 10 respectively, helped matters as she did not have to take troubles explaining to them about the new baby. “They are grown up. Since they knew that the baby was not their brother, they stayed detached too,” she says.

When she was finally mentally prepared, she gave the nod to Ana Med Services, an agency for surrogacy, which then went through the legal process and then the process began at NOVA IVI Fertility Clinic in the capital.

She was allotted a one BHK flat for the tenure of her pregnancy so that she could be monitored regularly.

The money she received has totally changed her lifestyle, says Rameez Khan, the agent who arranged for her surrogacy. He points to her bright and shining orange saree and a gold chain around her neck.

A lot of the money she received for her service came and disappeared in no time.

“The children had a lot of little demands. I am still fulfilling them,” she says. Around Rs 2.5-3 lakh is still left in her kitty.

She intends to add the money to the amount she will receive on selling some land back in her hometown and then buy a flat for her family in Delhi.

Means of livelihood

Meanwhile, surrogacy has provided her a means of livelihood. Since one month that she has been discharged after pregnancy, she has already referred around 20 women who could be possible surrogates. She also looks after the well-being of new surrogates for which the agency claims to be paying her Rs 10,000 for each surrogate mother.

“This has become my full-time job now,” she says. “She has now become a social worker,” adds Rameez immediately.

Though the Bangladeshi family never contacted her again after they took away the child, she accepts that she is waiting for the completion of one year before she can be eligible to be a surrogate once again. “I am stuck in this trap now,” she blurts out.

Rameez is quick to add that no negative connotations should be added to her usage of the word ‘trap’.

“It was just a slip of tongue,” he says and looks at her. She silently nods in agreement.

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