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

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Monika Rawal Kukreja

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”.

PHOTO: YOGEN SHAH

PHOTO: FACE­BOOK/ AAMIR KHAN

Above: Aamir Khan with his son Azaad; Right: Shah Rukh Khan with AbRam. Both the boys were born through sur­ro­gacy

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