HYDERABAD: At an upmarket ethnic wear store in Banjara Hills, US citizen Brad Fister (29) carefully cradled his 22-day-old baby who carries his genes but is ‘made’ at a clinic in Hyderabad. On Thursday, 24 hours before he leaves for Kentucky, US, where he lives with his same-sex partner Michael, Fister said he was happy he was leaving India with ‘his’ daughter.
Fister and Michael, who owns a computer firm, spent an amount of $ 60,000 to get this child, are the first among a bunch of gay couples who are coming to Hyderabad seeking surrogate mothers to carry babies for them. In fact, Fister’s daughter, who he has named Ashton, is the first surrogate child case of an American couple handled by the US Consulate in Hyderabad.
Fister had come to Hyderabad last year when he donated his sperm which was fused with an egg donated by an Indian egg donor. The resultant embryo was then implanted in a surrogate mother and this entire procedure was carried out at a city-based infertility centre, a first such case (of two dads) for them. The child was delivered by the surrogate mother on January 28 and Fister says the baby girl is his reflection with his “chin and lips”. The surrogate mother got paid Rs 4 lakh for carrying the baby, the going rate for rented wombs in the city.
The presence of international clients in the surrogacy industry in Hyderabad, say industry insiders, have led to higher rates for surrogate mothers.
Rates, they say, have doubled over the last few months. Of the total Rs 4-4.5 lakh charged for the surrogate mother, the woman who delivers the child gets Rs 2.5 lakh and another one lakh is earmarked for her diet and comfort during the nine-month period. The remaining amount of Rs 50,000 goes to the registered medical practitioner who would get the surrogate mother.