When Dr. Nayana Patel arrives to her clinic in the mornings, the lobby is full of women. Some wear brightly coloured saris, others are in western dress. They are either desperately seeking a baby or hoping to lift themselves out of poverty and offer their own children a better life. Beginning with a few surrogacies in 2003, Patel’s Akanksha clinic in the industrial state of Gujarat now delivers over 100 surrogate babies a year.
Commercial surrogacy remains controversial and is banned in many countries. But in, a socially conservative society, surrogacy has thrived since the supreme high-court legalised the practice in 2002. A report by the Confederation of Indian Industry estimates the practice will generate $2.3 billion a year by 2012. Read more at