The hidden camera footage reveals the Indian restaurant is crowded, and the ambient noise of fellow diners all around makes it hard to hear. But Gianna Toboni, an investigative reporter from HBO’s documentary show VICE, slowly begins to understand what is being offered to her by a woman sitting across the table.
Toboni is in India to get a firsthand look at the country’s booming international surrogacy industry. She has heard rumors of “extra” Caucasian babies for sale, so she meets a surrogacy broker for dinner. On camera, the broker, holding a swaddled infant, tells Toboni she can take the baby home tonight — for a price.
The source of these “extra” babies is beyond horrifying. Western couples are taking advantage of the discounts international surrogacy offers. They get a baby gestated for them at a low price, and the women in third-world countries get more money than they could make in several years.
To make the process more efficient, doctors often transfer more than one embryo to a surrogate. If she gets pregnant with multiples, sometimes the commissioning couple is not told. Nine months later, they fly in and get the one baby they paid for. The “extras,” however, are peddled on the black market. While the couple thinks they’re getting a miracle at a bargain price, they are unaware that their “extra” children are being sold to whoever is willing to pay.
Rebecca Taylor blogs at Mary Meets Dolly