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Surrogate mother

Mohsen Kaboli | Golestan, Iran

Zahra, in seventh month of pregnancy, does her housework. She is washing her children's clothes in the yard.

The Surrogacy Act was passed in Iran in 2004 as a measure to “combat” infertility affecting 1 out of every 5 couples in the country (some three million). This practice is prohibited in several countries including Spain and England, and is only considered legal in others such as Germany if it is practiced on a volunteer basis. In Iran it is considered that in addition to solving many couples’ fertility problems, it also reduces the number of divorces.

With the “uterus replacement” system, the mother gestates someone else’s fetus in her uterus based on a previously signed agreement to surrender the baby to the couple after its birth. As a result, for the “surrogate mother”, psychological trauma is a real threat since the baby must be surrendered to its “primary parents” 9 months after the transfer of embryo and the sensorial connection between the two.

The Surrogacy Act was passed in Iran in 2004 as a measure to “combat” infertility affecting 1 out of every 5 couples in the country (some three million). This practice is prohibited in several countries including Spain and England, and is only considered legal in others such as Germany if it is practiced on a volunteer basis. In Iran it is considered that in addition to solving many couples’ fertility problemos, it also reduces the number of divorces.

With the “uterus replacement” system, the mother gestates someone else’s fetus in her uterus based on a previously signed agreement to surrender the baby to the couple after its birth. As a result, for the “surrogate mother”, psychological trauma is a real threat since the baby must be surrendered to its “primary parents” 9 months after the transfer of embryo and the sensorial connection between the two.

Zahra is 29 years old and has three children. Her husband was sentenced to 3 years in prison for drug trafficking. Although she holds a job outside the home, the family has problems making ends meet. A few months ago, Zahra met a young couple who, after being married for 4 years, was still unable to conceive. Under pressure because of her situation, she decided to carry the fetus in her uterus in exchange for monetary compensation, including covering all of the costs of her pregnancy.

Robert and Arpineh are the names of the couple hiring Zahra’s womb. They are Christian and excited about the birth of their daughter. None of their friends or family knows that the baby they are expecting is growing in another woman’s uterus. Arpineh pretends to be pregnant, placing an artificial abdomen and going out to parties to show off her pregnancy. The couple has even taken a commemorative photograph of her pregnancy. No one in Zahra’s circle knows that truth either, accept her mother. To conceal what she is doing, she avoids leaving the house during the last months of her pregnancy.

Robert and Arpine tell Zahra you gave us a life.

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