Police investigate Ahmedabad surrogacy racket

Michael Cook
18 January 2013
Reproduced with Permission

The seamy side of Indian surrogacy has emerged in a murky saga which police are investigating in Ahmedabad. Loose regulations and corrupt officials make it easy for surrogacy to turn into baby-trafficking.

This case apparently started with a woman named Mona Thakor. She was single, divorced, and a mother of two. After a while she moved in with another man (the son of a police officer) and became pregnant again. Her partner wanted her to have an abortion. However, a nurse at the abortion clinic persuaded her to bear the child and sell it to patients of Dr Bharat Atit, the owner of Laxmi IVF and Research Foundation and Shree Maternity Nursing Home in Ahmedabad.

Dr Atit is currently "on the run", a not uncommon status for accused professionals in India. But he is not without friends. His wife used to be the mayor of Ahmedabad.

Surrogacy is legal in India, but only if a contract is signed and the correct procedures are followed. Persuading a woman to hand over an unwanted baby, as Mona Thakar allegedly did, is illegal. According to the Indian Express, sometimes these babies are passed off as the offspring of the surrogate mother and the commissioning husband. Ahmedabad police fear that this relatively minor case is the key to a bigger racket which ensnares single mothers.