Surrogacy is India's new form of outsourcing, as couples from all over the world hire Indian women to bear their children for a fraction of the cost of surrogacy elsewhere with little to no government oversight or regulation. In the first detailed ethnography of India's surrogacy industry, Amrita Pande visits clinics and hostels and speaks with surrogates and their families, clients, doctors, brokers, and hostel matrons in order to shed light on this burgeoning business and the experiences of the laborers within it. From recruitment to training to delivery, Pande's research focuses on how reproduction meets production in surrogacy and how this reflects characteristics of India's larger labor system.
Pande's interviews prove surrogates are more than victims of disciplinary power, and she examines the strategies they deploy to retain control over their bodies and reproductive futures. While some women are coerced into the business by their families, others negotiate with clients and their clinics to gain access to technologies and networks otherwise closed to them. As surrogates, the women Pande meets get to know and make the most of advanced medical discoveries. They traverse borders and straddle relationships that test the boundaries of race, class, religion, and nationality. Those who focus on the inherent inequalities of India's surrogacy industry believe the practice should be either banned or strictly regulated. Pande instead advocates for a better understanding of this complex labor market, envisioning an international model of fair-trade surrogacy founded on openness and transparency in all business, medical, and emotional exchanges.
About the Author
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Wombs in Labor
2. Pro-natal Technologies in an Anti-natal State
3. When the Fish Talk About the Water
4. Manufacturing the Perfect Mother-Worker
5. Everyday Divinities and God's Labor
6. Embodied Labor and Neo-eugenics
7. Disposable Workers and Dirty Labor
8. Disposable Mothers and Kin Labor
9. Conclusion: Aporia of Surrogacy
Epilogue: Did the "Sperm on a Rickshaw" Save the Third World?
Appendix A. Selected Clauses from the Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Regulation) Draft Bill
Appendix B. Consent Form to Be Signed by Surrogates
Appendix C. Descriptive Tables
What People are Saying About This
A rich, nuanced analysis that recognizes these women's attempts to negotiate the challenges of class, gender, race, and citizenship. In analyzing both their actions and their accounts, Pande explores how Indian surrogates resist, reframe, and seek to build better lives for themselves and their families through their globalized labor.
In this brave and unique study, Amrita Pande takes us with empathy and grace into the world of the Indian surrogate, asking how she feels about carrying a baby she must give up. Highly perceptive, deeply thoughtful, and analytically nuanced, Pande proposes new answers to a new question. An important book and a great read.
An invaluable work. Pande writes vividly, sensitively, and with critical intelligence about an incredibly complex modern phenomenon. Her attentiveness to the diverse situations and personalities of surrogate mothers is her book's greatest strength. A gripping read.