Birthing a Market: Commercial Surrogacy in India
By Sama – Resource Group for Women and Health | India | 2012
Excerpt from the Introduction:
There is an urgent need to initiate processes for a critical understanding of commercial surrogacy, that has assumed the proportion of a transnational industry towards building a collective, feminist response to it. This requires a strengthening of linkages between academia and activism that builds a perspective on the interaction of market, technology, patriarchy, and hetero-normativity as seen in this practice.
Further, the Draft ART Bill – 2010, prepared by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), necessitates a parallel process of mobilizing a wider response, particularly because this proposed legislation will be the first of its kind in South Asia, and is a step forward in checking the untrammeled commercialization of ARTs. In its current form, the Bill is hugely lacking in addressing this as well as the disadvantaged position of the surrogate.
Being a part of debates on the regulation of ARTs, which currently flourish in India in the absence of any state regulation, Sama has often been confronted with issues concerning citizenship, surrogates’ payments, and the contract between the surrogate and the commissioning parents.
Given this, Sama initiated the present research to gain insights into the lives of those at the heart of these issues—the surrogates—in order to make visible, and to better understand their perspectives, subjective experiences, and lives. The study scrutinizes the existing practices in the selected sites of research. Foregrounding the surrogate’s position in the arrangement and in the industry, the study examines several complexities regarding the terms of the contract, the multiple institutions and actors involved, their expectations and conditionalities regarding the surrogate pregnancy, medical practices and technological interventions.