AHMEDABAD: The artificial stomach Vidya Balan sported in Sujoy Ghosh’s ‘Kahaani’ was the surprise element in the climax. In real life, however, the fake tummy is commonly used by women opting for surrogacy to have a child but wanting their families to believe they are the ones carrying the bundle of joy.

Many women from traditional communities can’t tell their in-laws and relatives that they have employed a surrogat and instead, they walk around with a strap-on stomach for nine months to simulate a private one.

In an extreme case, a gynaecologist couple chose to have an incision on the stomach of the wife with sutures so that it looked like a caesarean section.

An artificial stomach would not have worked as there were many doctors in the family who are more difficult to deceive.

Anand-based surrogacy expert Dr Naina Patel says an IIT-graduate couple from Chennai opted for an artificial stomach as the woman wanted to avoid the disapproval of her in-laws . “She did not have a uterus and her in-laws would never have accepted that the child was born through another’s woman’s womb,” says Patel.

Hema Inamdar, a soft toy maker, specializes in fake tummies. “A woman called from the UK saying she felt she was actually carrying a baby when she wore the tummy,” says Inamdar . One can get artificial stomachs in sets of three.

The first set simulates three, five and seven months’ pregnancy. The other set simulates five, seven and nine months, with one set costing roughly Rs 1,000.

Fertility expert Dr Falguni Bavishi says NRI women too succumb to familial pressure.

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