Indian couples seek ‘white’ sperm and egg donors for fair kids

Published: June 25, 2013

In this photograph taken on February 5, 2013 an Indian surrogate mother sits at the Surrogacy Centre India (SCI) clinic in New Delhi. SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images

VANCOUVER DESI

A Delhi-based couple in their forties had twins through a surrogate mother, who carried an embryo created from the husband’s sperm and eggs from a ‘white’ donor, the Hindustan Times reported.

The couple wanted a donor with ‘very fair’ skin, but as someone with such special physical attributes was not available on Indian databases, the couple decided to look abroad for Caucasian or ‘white’ egg donors.

Through a foreign agency, the couple contacted a young unmarried woman from the West, who came to a Mumbai clinic and donated her eggs in May.

She was paid about Rs. 8 lakh or about $14,000— a package that included cost of her stay, food and travel. The fertilized embryo was then transferred to an Indian surrogate who delivered the baby.

“The husband is very fair and they wanted to have a fair child. We could not get an egg donor who could match the husband’s complexion and, hence, a Caucasian donor was selected,” said Dr Duru Shah, who runs a private clinic at Peddar Road. “The donor is a student who wanted to fund her nursing course and so agreed.”

According to infertility experts, easily accessible websites and donor-finding agencies have brought foreign sperm and egg donors just a click away from Indian couples.

Several media, including the BBC have reported on the desire for lighter skin in India. For centuries women in South Asia have been raised with the belief that a fairer complexion equates to beauty.

But  new developments in this area has always reignited the age-old fairness debate.

In 2010 India’s whitening cream market was worth $432m and growing at 18% per year, according to ACNielsen, BBC said.

Bollywood stars who have promoted the products include: John Abraham, Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone, Preity Zinta, Sonam Kapoor.

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