In this photograph taken on September 1, 2016, an Indian infant sleeps inside the Neonatal ICU at the Akanksha Hospital and Research Institute situated near Anand town, some 80 kms from Ahmedabad.
/ AFP / SAM PANTHAKY
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At a hostel for dozens of pregnant women, impoverished widow Sharmila Mackwan weighs up her decision to carry twins for another couple – her only ticket out of poverty – as the government moves to close India's multi-million dollar surrogacy industry. She has left her own children at an orphanage for the whole nine months of her pregnancy because her contract stipulates she has to stay at the housing facility, which is attached to the hospital she will deliver at in western Gujarat state.Mackwan, who is pregnant in her forth month, is among about 2,000 mainly poor Indian women who earn a relative fortune every year carrying babies for others.After opening up to surrogacy in 2002, India became a world leader in the multi-million dollar industry, with hundreds of foreign couples flocking for cheap and safe services.India tightened rules surrounding the industry in 2012 by barring gay couples and single people from using such services. India's 2,000-odd clinics charge couples between $20,000 and $30,000, a fraction of the price in the U.S. and other Western countries, while offering modern technology, skilled doctors and a steady supply of surrogates.
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