CAN A BABY BE ‘THEIRS’ NOT ‘OURS’?
There are more Bollywood stars who have chosen surrogacy than celebs who have adopted. This reflects a national trend
Talk of children born through surrogacy and quite a few names from Bollywood spring to mind — Shah Rukh Khan’s youngest son AbRam, four; Aamir Khan’s son Azaad, five; Tusshar Kapoor’s one-year-old son Laksshya; and twins just born to filmmaker Karan Johar, and also to comedian Krushna Abhishek and his wife, actor Kashmera Shah. This seems to be the in thing.
A different path has been taken by actor Sunny Leone, who has adopted a 21-monthold girl. Hers is a relatively rare choice in showbiz. Earlier this year, TV actors Gurmeet Choudhary and wife Debina Bonnerjee adopted two girls. But the only other well-known adoptive parents in Bollywood are actors Sushmita Sen and Raveena Tandon, and their adoptions happened years ago.
Do celebrities prefer surrogacy to adoption? “I never chose anything over anything,” says Tusshar. “I was always clear that I wanted my own child some day; maybe I will adopt, too, some day.”
Kashmera says that this was the last option after futile fertility treatments. “I had put on a lot of weight and was depressed, too. Eventually, we opted for surrogacy,” says the actor, adding that she wouldn’t have minded adoption.
Across India, data from CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority) show that the rate of adoption is falling. From 5,693 adoptions in 2010, it has dropped to 3,210 between April 2016 and April 2017.
Seema Khandekar, head of a child welfare body, former CARA counsellor and herself an adoptive parent, says that people want an infant (0-2 years), and very few such children are up for adoption. She adds, “Everyone is looking for a baby, as they feel it’s easier to teach them values.”
But for Gurgaon-based Yashmeen Barua, Head of PR & Corporate Communication at a leading media company, surrogacy looks like “a business”. She says that she and her husband took a “spontaneous decision” to adopt after visiting two orphan toddlers, as “their thoughts touched my heart”.
Above: Aamir Khan with his son Azaad; Right: Shah Rukh Khan with AbRam. Both the boys were born through surrogacy