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Transracial Embryo Adoption

pregnant womanSet to be a booming industry.

It's a business that's forecast to turn into a £3 billion a year market and whilst it might make some couples happy at the moment, there is little thought given to the effect it may have on the lives of their children.

So Called 'Test Tube Tourism' is a booming industry and a couple of years ago Wendy and Brian Duncan made history when Wendy became the first white British woman to be implanted with an Indian fertilised embryo.

That process more than two years ago, at the culmination of an 18-year frustration to conceive naturally or through IVF, was the answer to their dreams. It cost only £3,000 compared to a single £8,000 course of failed IVF in Britain.

Their daughter Freya, is now 19-months-old and the couple are returning to India with the hope of securing another embryo to give Freya a brother or sister. 'Having gone through it all before we know exactly what we're doing and we're taking Freya with us,’ says Wendy.

Wendy and Brian had no qualms about bearing a child of a different race.

'People will always look and stare because we are different but I haven’t had one single person say I shouldn’t have done this. To us colour is not an issue. I already have a mixed-race daughter, whose father is an Arab, from a previous relationship,' says Wendy. 'Lots of people say you would never think Freya wasn’t ours. She is so like me, it is unbelievable. She should have been a redhead - she has the temperament.'

The process however has attracted some criticism on ethical grounds. Social workers in India fear that poor women are being exploited. What is particularly worrying is the complex dilemma that will face these children for whom the term birth mother will have a completely new meaning. founder Sharron Hall adds: Although I do sympathise with couples who have difficulty having children of their own, I think this practice could cause a lot of misery in the future. Couples like Wendy and Brian will need to be able to prepare their children for the racist world they may encounter as they grow older. More importantly, a child that is a different race from their parents will start to ask questions about their birth parents and may want to find them. Providing the hospital in India has kept accurate records (and that may not always be so) these children may find birth mothers who have no maternal bond with them.

Furthermore whether they are Indian or British may at sometime be called into question.

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