The Birth of the “Global Baby”
Welcome the bouncing global baby. She was delivered in Greece by an Albanian woman. The biological mother is an anonymous Swedish egg donor; her father’s sperm is German. The couple adopting is from America.
If all the procedures were done in the U.S, the cost would be a queen’s ransom. With top-of-the-line choices and amenities, the bill could approach $200,000. Just as you can save money by tucking your tummy in Turkey, your bundle of joy can save you a bundle if you think outside the border.
The man who runs a major global baby “concierge service” began with traditional medical tourism and went into reproductive tourism as a logical and lucrative extension.
The most economical plan from Rudy Rupak’s PlanetHospital is the “India Bundle.” It includes an egg donor, four embryo transfers into four surrogates, room and board for the surrogates, and a car and driver for the new parents when they travel to India to pick up the baby. The tag is a modest $32,000.
One bioethics professor calls this the wild, wild west of medicine.
Many clients pursing the “global baby option” have issues beyond fertility: trouble adopting because of age, medical conditions, criminal records, lack of time in a marriage or not in a marriage---a prime example of which is a gay couple. Dr. Rupak has been promoting that particular client base in a website touting “surrogaycy.” The agency says: “In some [U.S.] states you cannot marry, let alone adopt; but not a law in the land can take away a child that is biologically yours.” In this scenario, you would use your own sperm, saving even more money.
Going abroad has other advantages. Surrogate women in most host countries cannot sue to keep the baby if she has a change of heart. Many clinics will implant multiple surrogates to enhance the birth odds, which may bring up the decision to abort fetuses if they’re not wanted. Although technically legal in the U.S., individual states may have laws that complicate or delay the matter. Host countries are typically are more liberal.
All are welcome to apply to PlanetHospital. The acceptance policy ethics are described as “agnostic.” How do you prevent a pedophile from having a baby? “If they are a pedophile,” Rupak replies, “I will leave that to the U.S. government to decide.” This is a less than reassuring answer.
A DNA test, a passport and you’re ready to take the baby home.
“Think globally, act locally” takes on a whole new meaning.