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Pictures | Thu Oct 22, 2020 | 4:19pm EDT

Life-like dolls act as surrogate children for some Iranian families

Twenty-four-year-old Maryam Aghayee makes hyper-realistic baby dolls acting as surrogates for some Iranian families who are apprehensive of having more children. "It has been about three or four months since I started this work," says Maryam. "After making my second doll, many orders have been coming in. The second doll was much more realistic than the previous one. After making my second doll, I said that from now on I can take customer orders. I did not intend to start a business from the beginning because it was a hobby, but after the second doll, the demand for these kinds of dolls increased, customers want to have such dolls."   



Majid Asgaripour/WANA

Twenty-four-year-old Maryam Aghayee makes hyper-realistic baby dolls acting as surrogates for some Iranian families who are apprehensive of having more children. "It has been about three or four months since I started this work," says Maryam. "After...more

Twenty-four-year-old Maryam Aghayee makes hyper-realistic baby dolls acting as surrogates for some Iranian families who are apprehensive of having more children. "It has been about three or four months since I started this work," says Maryam. "After making my second doll, many orders have been coming in. The second doll was much more realistic than the previous one. After making my second doll, I said that from now on I can take customer orders. I did not intend to start a business from the beginning because it was a hobby, but after the second doll, the demand for these kinds of dolls increased, customers want to have such dolls." Majid Asgaripour/WANA
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The baby dolls can also be used to help grieving mothers cope with the loss of a child, or in Mojagn Zabhipour's case - a companion for her five-year-old.      Majid Asgaripour/WANA

The baby dolls can also be used to help grieving mothers cope with the loss of a child, or in Mojagn Zabhipour's case - a companion for her five-year-old. Majid Asgaripour/WANA

The baby dolls can also be used to help grieving mothers cope with the loss of a child, or in Mojagn Zabhipour's case - a companion for her five-year-old. Majid Asgaripour/WANA
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Zabhipour's daughter, Baran, has tea parties with the doll and keeps her close when she goes to sleep.     Majid Asgaripour/WANA

Zabhipour's daughter, Baran, has tea parties with the doll and keeps her close when she goes to sleep. Majid Asgaripour/WANA

Zabhipour's daughter, Baran, has tea parties with the doll and keeps her close when she goes to sleep. Majid Asgaripour/WANA
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Zabhipour, said they decided to get the doll after their daughter's repeated requests for another sibling.    

Majid Asgaripour/WANA

Zabhipour, said they decided to get the doll after their daughter's repeated requests for another sibling. Majid Asgaripour/WANA

Zabhipour, said they decided to get the doll after their daughter's repeated requests for another sibling. Majid Asgaripour/WANA
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"The feeling of hugging this doll is exactly like the time my own child was a baby. When I hugged it, I remembered exactly when my child was a baby,"" said Zabhipour. "These days families cannot even think about having three or four children."   Majid Asgaripour/WANA

"The feeling of hugging this doll is exactly like the time my own child was a baby. When I hugged it, I remembered exactly when my child was a baby,"" said Zabhipour. "These days families cannot even think about having three or four children." ...more

"The feeling of hugging this doll is exactly like the time my own child was a baby. When I hugged it, I remembered exactly when my child was a baby,"" said Zabhipour. "These days families cannot even think about having three or four children." Majid Asgaripour/WANA
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Maryam first started designing these dolls as a hobby, carefully coloring in the silicone baby's face and dressing it to make it look as life-like as possible. But after completing her second Reborn baby doll, the orders started to roll in.   


 Majid Asgaripour/WANA

Maryam first started designing these dolls as a hobby, carefully coloring in the silicone baby's face and dressing it to make it look as life-like as possible. But after completing her second Reborn baby doll, the orders started to roll in. ...more

Maryam first started designing these dolls as a hobby, carefully coloring in the silicone baby's face and dressing it to make it look as life-like as possible. But after completing her second Reborn baby doll, the orders started to roll in. Majid Asgaripour/WANA
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"Many of the customers for these reborn baby dolls are those whose children are complaining of being only-children in their families, wanting a sibling. Parents provide them with these dolls to stop their nagging and complaining," said Aghayee.   Majid Asgaripour/WANA

"Many of the customers for these reborn baby dolls are those whose children are complaining of being only-children in their families, wanting a sibling. Parents provide them with these dolls to stop their nagging and complaining," said Aghayee. ...more

"Many of the customers for these reborn baby dolls are those whose children are complaining of being only-children in their families, wanting a sibling. Parents provide them with these dolls to stop their nagging and complaining," said Aghayee. Majid Asgaripour/WANA
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"It has been about three or four months since I started this work," says Maryam. "After making my second doll, many orders have been coming in. The second doll was much more realistic than the previous one. After making my second doll, I said that from now on I can take customer orders. I did not intend to start a business from the beginning because it was a hobby, but after the second doll, the demand for these kinds of dolls increased, customers want to have such dolls."   

Majid Asgaripour/WANA

"It has been about three or four months since I started this work," says Maryam. "After making my second doll, many orders have been coming in. The second doll was much more realistic than the previous one. After making my second doll, I said that...more

"It has been about three or four months since I started this work," says Maryam. "After making my second doll, many orders have been coming in. The second doll was much more realistic than the previous one. After making my second doll, I said that from now on I can take customer orders. I did not intend to start a business from the beginning because it was a hobby, but after the second doll, the demand for these kinds of dolls increased, customers want to have such dolls." Majid Asgaripour/WANA
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The designer added that many families in Iran are choosing to have one child because of economic restraints. "The custom of having one child is largely due to expenses and the economic situation.… But they don't realize that having a real sibling cannot be replaced in this way," added Aghayee.     Majid Asgaripour/WANA

The designer added that many families in Iran are choosing to have one child because of economic restraints. "The custom of having one child is largely due to expenses and the economic situation.… But they don't realize that having a real sibling...more

The designer added that many families in Iran are choosing to have one child because of economic restraints. "The custom of having one child is largely due to expenses and the economic situation.… But they don't realize that having a real sibling cannot be replaced in this way," added Aghayee. Majid Asgaripour/WANA
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Mozhgan and her child play with a Reborn baby doll at home in Tehran. "One of the main reasons (single-child households are common) is the economic situation, and the high expenses of having a child," says Mozhgan. "Having just one child is considered as a kind of social prestige and there is a point of view that families with many children is old-school. These days families cannot even think about having three or four children."    

Majid Asgaripour/WANA

Mozhgan and her child play with a Reborn baby doll at home in Tehran. "One of the main reasons (single-child households are common) is the economic situation, and the high expenses of having a child," says Mozhgan. "Having just one child is...more

Mozhgan and her child play with a Reborn baby doll at home in Tehran. "One of the main reasons (single-child households are common) is the economic situation, and the high expenses of having a child," says Mozhgan. "Having just one child is considered as a kind of social prestige and there is a point of view that families with many children is old-school. These days families cannot even think about having three or four children." Majid Asgaripour/WANA
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Official statistics indicate that Iran will be the oldest country in the world in the next 30 years, the Iranian health ministry said this month. In July, Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran would "fall behind others" if its population continues to drop.    
Asgaripour/WANA

Official statistics indicate that Iran will be the oldest country in the world in the next 30 years, the Iranian health ministry said this month. In July, Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran would "fall behind others" if its...more

Official statistics indicate that Iran will be the oldest country in the world in the next 30 years, the Iranian health ministry said this month. In July, Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran would "fall behind others" if its population continues to drop. Asgaripour/WANA
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