The Dangerous Effects of Surrogacy: A Review of A Transnational Feminist View of Surrogacy Biomarkets in India

K. Blaine for Public Discourse writes:

Imagine you live in India. You live in extreme poverty—poverty like most Americans have never witnessed. The kind of poverty that leads you to sign a contract that you cannot read. You relinquish your home, your friends, your family, your children, your body. You leave your community to live in a dormitory where your every move is monitored and recorded. You have no control over the medical interventions performed on you. You are told what you can watch on television, what you can eat, where and how far you can walk, and even what you can listen to.

This is not a spin-off of the “Handmaid’s Tale.” It’s the true story that Dr. Sheela Saravanan has studied and written about in A Transnational Feminist View of Surrogacy Biomarkets in India.

Saravanan studied two IVF clinics in Western India. She interviewed and observed thirteen surrogates, six of the surrogates’ spouses, four intended parents, and two doctors. Her research “revealed several ongoing illegal surrogacy cases, near-death situations of surrogate mothers, neonatal and perinatal mortalities, unreported abandonment of disabled infants by intended parents and morbidities among surrogate mothers.”

Surrogacy is a global problem. Men and women from places like the United States, Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands travel to places like Thailand, Nepal, Mexico, Laos, Dubai, and Cambodia to take advantage of lax legislation, inequality, and indescribable poverty to build their families.

Overall, Saravanan’s research found, not surprisingly, that surrogacy is a money-making business that exploits both surrogate mothers and intended parents. She states, “surrogacy was a bazaar where everything about women’s reproductive capacity and the children born was priced,” including the number, weight, and gender/(dis)abiliites of the child(ren) born.

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