We hope our website provides you with some resources to learn more about the growing practice of outsourcing surrogacy in India.  The concept of surrogacy in India is not new.  This phenomenon has been around for over three decades; in 1978, a girl named Kanupriya was born through IVF technology in Kolkata.1  Since then, the globalization of reproduction has created ways to connect people in ways never envisioned before, and has redefined the human limitations of pregnancy and childbirth.

From topics as diverse of poverty alleviation, psychological attachment, and moral exploitation, reaching a personal opinion on outsourcing surrogacy is not an easy matter.  Above all, keep in mind that indecision and a bit of skepticism might not be a bad outcome.  In the words of Hank Greely, a Professor of Bioethics Law at Stanford University, “Anyone who has a definitive view on such an issue is surely definitely wrong.” 


Introduction: The Growth of Commercial Surrogacy in India

NANDANI PATEL (TRANSLATION): I have done this for my kids and because I have one dream -- a house. We are living in a rented place. From the money I earn as a surrogate mother I can buy a house. It's not possible for my husband to earn more as he's not educated and only earns $50 a month, so nothing is saved.2

Commercial surrogacy, or “wombs for rent,” is a growing business in India.  In places like the Akanksha Infertility Clinic in Anand, women like Nandani Patel (above) are paid $5000 to $7000 to carry another couple’s child.  In our rapidly globalizing world, the growth of reproductive tourism is a fairly recent phenomenon.  Increasing numbers of infertile couples from the U.S, Britain, Taiwan, and other countries are looking for surrogate mothers in India, where an English-speaking environment and cheaper services are attractive incentives for those exploring surrogacy as a fertility option.

From outsourcing call centers to outsourcing pregnancy, the idea of a couple impregnating a woman located halfway across the world is nothing short of fantastical.  Future projections of this practice range from opportunity to exploitation – from rural women in India uplifted out of poverty to a futuristic nightmare of developing country baby farms à la Margaret Atwoods’ “The Handsmaid’s Tale.”  The reality is probably somewhere in between.  In this web project, we invite you to explore some of the relevant topics of commercial surrogacy in India as we look at this issue through the lens of economic development, psychological effects of surrogacy, women’s rights and ongoing moral/ethical concerns.  We recommend a curious attitude, an open mind, and a cautious outlook to best form your own opinion of commercial surrogacy in India.


1 “Is Paying the Poor to Have Children Morally Wrong?” http://www.feministezine.com/feminist/international/Wombs-for-Rent.html

2Quoted in interview transcripts, http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2007/12/27/surrogate_mothers


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