60 Minutes blog

Liz Hayes: Two Men and Two Babies

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It used to be that "Delhi belly" meant something less than pleasant was on its way. Well not any longer.

It could now mean you've made the ultimate decision, and hired a womb. An Indian woman whose taken on the job of giving birth to your child.

India has now become a major player in the baby-making business providing everything you need. Donor sperm, eggs and wombs-for-rent can all be found under the one fertility clinic roof.

I travelled to India to meet up with Peter and Trevor, a gay couple from Melbourne who had made the investment.

Nine months before they'd begun the pregnancy process after purchasing eggs from a donor and engaging the services of a surrogate, at a Mumbai fertility clinic.

They're now the proud, genetic fathers of twin girls.

None of this is new, of course. In America, for hundreds of thousands of dollars you can do the same. In India, it's much cheaper and there are fewer rules about who gets to be a parent this way.

Making babies is now something anyone can do. Single men and women, gay and straight, combinations of all kinds can sign up today!

And if you're a man, you don't even have to turn up to make a "deposit". You can courier your frozen sperm to the clinic and it will take care of the rest.

As long as you make the trip nine months later, and the bills are paid, that little bundle of joy is yours.

Yes, yes, it is the ultimate Indian outsourcing industry.

Women, so many of them, are prepared to sell their eggs or carry someone else's child for a fee. And there are plenty of banks of sperm. But, if you've ever been to India, it's not entirely a surprise.

Poverty is so very real for many families that when the chance to make more money in nine months than most could make in nineteen years comes along, it's a no-brainer.

The surrogates I met are young mothers with children of their own. The money they earn will make an enormous difference to their lives, although I got the feeling that giving birth to babies for gay couples wasn't high on their agenda.

And their husbands took some convincing, too. Many didn't believe pregnancy was possible without sexual contact. But, once the birds and the bees of the test tube tango was explained, all was well.

Still, surrogacy is often done in secrecy. Women don't usually want others to know and are afraid of the shame they may suffer for doing so. So they pretend the baby they're carrying is theirs and then, when it fails to come home with them, claim that the worst has happened. The baby has died.

It's a complicated and emotionally charged issue for everyone.

Dip your toe into the argument about the rights and wrongs of children brought into the world this way and prepare for a battle royal. I'm already suffering a nasty chaffing from the fence I know I'm straddling, but really, I don't know if this is a good or bad thing.

Plenty will tell you that making babies this way doesn't lessen their commitment or love for their children. Quite the opposite.

Perhaps it's because it's a business, I feel this unease. I'm not sure.

What I am sure of is it's a reality … and it isn't going away.

User comments
I believe this is the way of the modern world and science - it makes for opportunity. I do not believe it is sad that they have two dads as long as their dads let them grow up to be 'who they are' and treat them well. I come from a 'normal' family and I was abused - my life has been devastated by it. I am 36 and I still have terrible nightmares. I am ill and I believe all the stress from abuse damaged my life and took away from my potential. If these children are loved and allowed to grow into their own adult then that is something beautiful. Love is great no matter where it comes from and gay people can love like anyone else. They are human like anyone else. Yes it is true they have chosen to be in a relationship whereby children are not possible but science makes it possible no - so it is. The issue at hand is that the whole world feeds of the poor. Industry and more all come from our 'richer' countries feeding off the poor. This is an ethical issue to fix.
Well my view on this is if you have choosen a life with the same sex partner then you have choosen to not have children, man or woman. It's your right to be homosexual but you can't use people's bodies just because you have choosen a life that can't produce children. I'm sorry you can't have the cake and eat it to. These poor baby's are from a different country brought and paid for which is down right wrong. Those poor woman don't have money so they sell there bodies just to survive in a country that doesn't respect woman and people are encouarging that. What about the rights of the children they will be told that same sex relationships are right which if that was the case they should be able to have children but they cant. Please open your eyes and see that this is wrong in so many ways.
Obviously most of you have not been adopted from a third world country and brought up with australlian parents. I found it hard growing up in Australia because I was constantly stared at because I was dark skinned, and my parents (hetrosexual) are white. I can't bear to imagine how little Gaia and Evelyn will turn out when they a). they realise that they are adopted into a white family and b) they realise that they have two dads! These kids will have huge issues when they get older. I have nothing against same sex couples, but has anyone given a thought to the poor children involved in this? Obviously not.
It annoys me terribly that people think 'oh the poor girls, growing up without a mother'. these girls will grow up with two parents who love them unconditionally, and that is a blessing! i'm sure the girls will have some sort of female role model in their lives, whether it be an aunt, a grandmother, or each other! and in regards to the surrogates, it cannot be considered exploitation when these women willingly become surrogates!
I have word for you (anti gay), and above your people should know that being gay is normal and you are born with. People are what they are. This is a testament from God that how do you love each other when you have a life time in this world. People only believe what they want to believe. They don't even believe in God. Congrad, Peter and Trevor. All Christian being warned, you have fully responsible for your action making excuse to God and blaming others, and killing them. After all, they all are lame. I believe in God but I don't believe in your Church rules.
Hi Liz, We are a civil unioned gay couple living in AUCKLAND, NZ and are looking at our options to have kids. Watching your article has brought a real sense of hope that having children doesnt have to just be a dream for us. Are you able to provide contact details for the clinc that the men in your article went through as we would like to make some further enquires into the process. Cheers
I can't stand it when people say that ohh gay couples who have children are selfish, well how is that any different to straight couples having children, straight couples who have and want children are also being selfish because they are thinking about themselves. Everyones selfish, it's normal and is in human nature to be selfish, it's normal to think of yourself and to want things for yourself, we all do, theres nothing wrong with being a bit selfish or very selfish it is only wrong to be totally selfish, to be totally selfish is to never think of others ever and to only ever think of yourself and that is wrong.
It is and i should know, being raised in a strict religious conservative family being told that homosexuality is evil and disgusting and wrong, what a load of rubbish, people including religious bigots need to mind their own dam business and stop sticking their fat ugly bigoted noses into other peoples business.
People say paying a surrogate and buying donor eggs and donor sperm is baby buying, well what about tradtional IVF in which a couple uses their sperm and eggs to have children because they can't have children the natural way due to medical complications, that to is also baby buying considering that you have to pay to use IVF and what about people who adopt a baby, that to is baby buying because you have to pay to adopt.
Ron of Sydney you are dam right, i loved what you said, and sorry for reproting you i didn't mean to, what i was really trying to do was reply to wat you wrote because i loved every word of it

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