Monday, 9 September 2013

Surrogacy and Mythology

Surrogacy and Mythology

Surrogacy has been shown as a medical intervention that has helped millions of childless parents. It is supposed to be one of the modern miracles of science. But surrogacy is not anew age invention. It has been a part of every society since times immemorial.It had been practiced since ages in one form or the other.

To understand surrogacy, we must first understand a woman. Initially such a question seems absurd but there is more to it than meets the eye. The broader question is to understand woman so as to establish her in her right position. In Indian mythology there is the tale of the goddess being empowered by the gods. They gave her ten weapons to adorn her ten arms. These gods represented the various forces of Nature like the Sun, the Moon and the Ocean among others. Then astride the mighty lion she fought and vanquished Evil. In ancient folklores the Earth is said to be the woman and the Sun and Rain empowers her to bring forth the fruits from within her. Her powers are latent – deep inside her. A woman denied can be quiet and deadly in her anger. The fertile earth can change into the barren desert.

What is surrogacy? It is the deputing of one woman by another. The surrogate agrees to bear the child of another who cannot go through the process of child birth. Sperm (frozen or fresh) is implanted surgically inside the womb of the surrogate. For couples denied parenthood for medical reasons this method has been a godsend blessing. The sperm may come from the intended father or from a donor if the former is lacking in it. Monetary incentives may or may not be the compelling factor in such an arrangement.

 Surrogacy and its complications is nothing new. In the Bible is the story of Sarah and Abraham who were childless. Their Egyptian slave Hagar agreed to become the surrogate. But her intimacy with Abraham made Hagar arrogant. This caused Sarah to banish her but later they were reunited. The child Ishmael later became one of the leaders of the tribe.

Today the complication of intimacy is reduced because the implantation is done in a surgical clinic. But the woman bearing the child becomes a biological mother and this could form to strong maternal urges; she might not be willing to surrender the child despite previous agreement. Does the surrogate mother then have no rights? In Indian mythology there is the story of the fetus being taken out of imprisoned princess Devaki and being implanted in the womb of Rohini, another wife of her husband Vosudev. Even without surgery one can be a surrogate mother like Yashoda who unknowingly reared the boy Krishna as her own. But what rights did she have when Krishna returned to his biological mother Devaki? The scriptures are silent.

Thus we came to see that surrogacy has been an eternal part of all our societies.Â

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