Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Infertility & Reproduction Health Center

Font Size

Womb for Rent: Surrogate Mothers in India


As a guest speaker at many international infertility conferences, Patel isn't fazed by the foreigners who beat a path to her door — including clients from Taiwan, Japan, the U.S., Europe, and Australia. But she refuses to treat gay couples, revealing her deeply conservative cultural roots. "I get e-mails from gays and lesbians," she says, "some of them very well written — but I don't feel right about helping them."

The people she does feel good about helping are the local women-the surrogates — so long as they're not being coerced by their husbands or in-laws eager for a paycheck. "I must be certain it's a woman's own decision," she explains. "If there's any sign of tension or unwillingness, I spot it straightaway." Patel also helps to ensure each woman keeps control over her fee. "For example, if she wants to buy a house, we'll hold her money for her until she's ready. Or if she wants to put it in an account for her children, we'll go with her to the bank to set up the account in her name." The money gives many women their first taste of empowerment.

Achieving that financial freedom is hard work. In one of the wards, Sofia Vohra (no relation to Najima), 35, is lying in a room with three beds, an ancient ceiling fan, and wall paint that has bubbled in the heat like a nasty rash. She is about to give birth for the sixth time, to a baby she's carrying for a couple living in the U.S. She has five children of her own, a husband who's a lazy drunk, and a job crushing glass that's used in making (of all things) fortified kite string, for which she earns $25 a month. She became a surrogate for no other reason than to pay for her two daughters' dowries, an illegal — but still widely practiced — Indian marriage ritual.

"I'll be glad when this is over," she says, as Patel places a stethoscope on her ballooning brown stomach. "It's exhausting being pregnant again." Then, in case her complaints are misunderstood, she quickly adds, "This is not exploitation. Crushing glass for 15 hours a day is exploitation. The baby's parents have given me a chance to make good marriages for my daughters. That's a big weight off my mind."

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Today on WebMD

Four pregnant women standing in a row
How much do you know about conception?
Couple with surrogate mother
Which one is right for you?
couple lying in grass holding hands
Why Dad's health matters.
couple viewing positive pregnancy test
6 ways to improve your chances.
Which Treatment Is Right For You
Conception Myths
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy
Charting Your Fertility Cycle
Fertility Specialist
Understanding Fertility Symptoms
invitro fertilization