The BBC has reported a surrogacy case (‘The couple having four babies through two surrogates’) involving a British couple who are anticipating the birth of four babies through surrogacy – two sets of twins being carried simultaneously by two Indian surrogate mothers. Natalie was interviewed for the piece, by Poonam Taneja, and comments on our experience on the ground and what these arrangements are being called:
“Lawyer Natalie Gamble confirms there are similar cases but she believes it is a trend which is largely unique to the sub-continent. “We’ve seen it a few times. I wouldn’t say it’s routine but it’s not massively uncommon in India,” she says. In fact there is even a new term coined for these babies – twiblings. “They’re not quite twins and not quite siblings either,” she says.
It is indeed not the first time we have seen twiblings result from surrogacy in India – the use of more than one surrogate at the same time is an option presented to many of our clients going to India. Embryos are created (either using the couple’s own gametes, or with the help of a donor) and then transferred into several surrogate mothers at the same time with a view to maximising the chance of a successful pregnancy. If both surrogates get pregnant, the babies may be born at slightly different times, even though they were conceived as twins.
We understand that parents who have had long and difficult journeys are desperate to achieve a pregnancy, and that many do think through carefully the consequences of having many children at once. But where multiple embryos are transferred, there can be significant risks involved for the parents, the babies and the surrogate mothers, and those involved may not be given enough information about the risks before they make a decision about how to proceed. Indian surrogate twiblings is the product of an unregulated system and a world away from the strictly controlled fertility treatment which takes place under HFEA regulation in the UK, where there are strict controls on how many embryos can be transferred in order to avoid multiple pregnancies, and rigorous measures in place to make sure everyone involved gets the right information and gives full informed consent. It is something parents should bear in mind before they embark on surrogacy in India.
There is more information on our website about international surrogacy law and immigration.Tags: bbc, Indian surrogacy, international surrogacy, multiple pregnancy, Natalie Gamble, poonam taneja, single embryo transfer, twiblings