It’s weird, but it appears to exist. A television program on the Israel Channel 8 Documentary Program brought to light a “service” that appears to be getting more and more popular. Here’s how it works:

A childless couple, after exhausting all efforts to adopt a baby, decide to resort to “other means” to acquire one, including advertisements in the internet for “made to order babies”. If the woman seeking a child cannot provide a healthy ovum, a connection is made with a woman willing to donate one of her ovum (for a small fee of course), and sperm used to fertilize the offspring comes either from the husband of the childless couple or from a male donor. Naturally, the personal health and hereditary histories of all donors are thoroughly investigated, to ensure the birth of a healthy infant. The ovum (which has been deep frozen) is then taken by the couple to India, where both sperm (either from the husband or a donor) and ovum are then planted in a surrogate mother’s womb, where it will grow until the Indian woman gives birth.

All expenses of the process are paid by the couple “ordering” the child (which might also a same sex couple, by the way) including the care and medical expenses for the surrogate mother, including a fee for her services. The total bill for such an “order” can run over $50,000, including plane fares, hotels and other expenses of the “purchaser”.

The process is not cheap by any means, but it appears to more and more people are using this method to acquire a baby. The legal aspects of the process are still a bit hazy, however, but government authorities in India appear to be giving a blind eye to the “service’ which appears to be getting larger in a country where a fee of $ 5,000 will go a long way for an Indian family that usually subsists on less than $1,000 a year (not everyone in the Sub Continent works for a high tech or financial services company). And since the Indian woman is only the “incubator” for the child, she doesn’t have a claim on it since the ovum involved did not come from her.

Surrogate mothers are not a new phenomenon and for years now women have offered to be one, usually for a substantial fee. The only catch is that sometimes she decides she wants to keep the baby herself, resulting in a bit of legal problem. But in the case of the Indian carrying mothers, this problem appears to have been solved. It all shows that the process of having a baby is often taken for granted by those able to have them; especially when all the factors are involved in ordering a “Google baby”.