Book: Gender Before Birth: Sex Selection in a Transnational Context

Gender Before Birth: Sex Selection in a Transnational Context
By Rajani Bhatia | University of Washington Press | 2018
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From the publisher’s website:

In the mid-1990s, the international community pronounced prenatal sex selection via abortion an “act of violence against women” and “unethical.” At the same time, new developments in reproductive technology in the United States led to a method of sex selection before conception; its US inventor marketed the practice as “family balancing” and defended it with the rhetoric of freedom of choice. In Gender before Birth, Rajani Bhatia takes on the double standard of how similar practices in the West and non-West are divergently named and framed.

Bhatia’s extensive fieldwork includes interviews with clinicians, scientists, biomedical service providers, and feminist activists, and her resulting analysis extends both feminist theory on reproduction and feminist science and technology studies. She argues that we are at the beginning of a changing transnational terrain that presents new challenges to theorized inequality in reproduction, demonstrating how the technosciences often get embroiled in colonial gender and racial politics.

 

Film: Can We See the Baby Bump Please?

Can We See the Baby Bump Please?
Director: Surabhi Sharma | 2013

Can We See the Baby Bump Please

Can We See the Baby Bump Please?” is a detailed exploration of commercial surrogacy in India. It includes interviews with gestational mothers, providing rare and important glimpses into their lives and the contexts within which they make the decision to enter surrogacy relationships. The film was produced by Sama Resource Group for Women and Health, one of Surrogacy360’s global partners.

From film director Surabhi Sharma’s website:

The global reach of medical tourism and commercial surrogacy spawns a range of clinics and practices across big cities and small towns in India. Anonymous, often with limited choice, woman’s labour is yet again pushed into the background. A whiff of immorality, the absence of regulation and the erasure of the surrogate’s experience collude to produce a climate of callousness. May we see the baby bump please? meets with surrogates, doctors, law firms,agents, and family in an attempt to understand the context of surrogacy in India.

For more information on the film, including a link to purchase, visit Magic Lantern Movies.

Plus: Following a screening of “Can We See the Baby Bump Please?” at Harvard University in 2015, Judy Norsigian, co-founder and former executive director of Our Bodies Ourselves, and I. Glenn Cohen, faculty director of the Petrie-Flom Center and a professor at Harvard Law School, discussed the legal and human rights issues surrounding surrogacy and egg donation in a global context:

Article: Republic of Unreason

Republic of Unreason
By Suhrith Parthasarathy | The Hindu | Sept. 1, 2016

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Now, there is little doubting that any reasonable government ought to concern itself at some level with the ethics of procreation, especially given the power equations at play in a contract of surrogacy. But is a complete proscription on commercial surrogacy a neutral position to take?

Framed by the death of a 30-year-old gestational mother in India in 2011, and the contract she signed agreeing to life support in order to protect the fetus in the event of life-threatening injury in the third trimester, this opinion article provides a critique of the Indian government’s recent ban on all commercial surrogacy.

Suhrith Parthasarathy comments on the requirements articulated in the new law — for intended parents, gestational mothers, and the money exchanged in between — highlighting flawed assumptions made by the bill and its “violation” of the constitutional pledge of equal treatment.

Read the full article >

Article: Ban on Foreign Nationals for Surrogacy a Blow

Ban on Foreign Nationals for Surrogacy a Blow
By Rajitha S. | The New Indian Express | Aug. 5, 2016

This is one of many articles that covers the Indian government’s recent attempt to restrict surrogacy to an “altruistic deed.” The new legislation will limit arrangements to a gestational mother’s “blood relations, family, community, country,” thereby excluding all foreigners.

The Group of Ministers (GoM), set up at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has also decided to bar single and gay couples from seeking arrangements with gestational mothers, and only allow surrogacy for Indian citizens that are married and infertile. These – and other protections – are, according to sources cited in the article, designed to ensure the normal biological function of a woman’s body is no longer commercialized. Read the full article >

Additional reading:

Article: Surrogacy May Soon Be Confined to Kith and Kin

Surrogacy May Soon Be Confined to Kith and Kin
By Teena Thacker | The Asian Age | Aug. 7, 2016

This article – one of many – reports on the Indian government’s recent attempt to restrict surrogacy to an “altruistic deed.” The new legislation will limit arrangements to a gestational mother’s “blood relations, family, community, country,” thereby excluding all foreigners.

The Group of Ministers (GoM), set up at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has also decided to bar single and gay couples from seeking arrangements with gestational mothers, and only allow surrogacy for Indian citizens that are married and infertile. These – and other protections – are, according to sources cited in the article, designed to ensure the normal biological function of a woman’s body is no longer commercialized.

Read the full article >

Read other articles following recent legislative developments in India >

Article: After Nepal, Indian Surrogacy Clinics Move to Cambodia

After Nepal, Indian Surrogacy Clinics Move to Cambodia
By Nilanjana Bhowmick | Al Jazeera | June 28, 2016

“There is no legislation protecting the rights of the surrogate, child or intended parents … The ban [in India] will push intended parents to engage in far riskier places like Cambodia, where there is a serious lack of medical support services, such as neonatal care units.” – Sam Everingham, Families through Surrogacy

This article follows surrogacy’s expansion into Cambodia, after recent legal crackdowns in the region. With ongoing legislative attempts in India as backdrop, it focuses on the rise of clinics originally from India and Nepal, the movement of gestational mothers from these countries as well as Laos and Thailand into Cambodia, and the implications on risks and the human rights of the women involved.

Read the full article >