August 04, 2011

India and Surrogacy

I never intended this blog to have a political slant, but I figured that this topic spans ethical, sociopolitical, and globalization perspectives.  I was watching the "PBS Newshour" tonight and saw a segment on the film, "Made in India," chronicling the newest fad of American couples having a surrogate in India.  The segment still boggles my mind.  This smells of post-colonism, relying on a developed nation for monetary and economic growth in a developing nation.

I have various issues about the cost of this transnational surrogacy, particularly the lack of women's rights in India.  The woman in India carrying a (white) American child legally cannot fight for custody of the child, although she is the one that nurtures it to full term.  (I also assume that it is much, much cheaper to have a surrogate in India than in the US, where the standard of living is higher than in India.)  In return for being a surrogate, the women in India are given a vast sum of money, which she uses on the children that she ALREADY has.  Or so it was shown in the clip from "Made in India."  Giving up a baby that you grew inside of you, so that you can feed the mouths you already have, all the while being in a developing nation where women have little rights is no-win situation, in my opinion.

In America, surrogates have the choice to carry a child for someone else, even if it may be informed by an economic need.  It makes sense to me that the parents-to-be could visit and/or communicate with the surrogate if the surrogate lived in the US, and language barriers would be less of an issue.  In India, the "choice" is informed by socioeconomic immobility, a patriarchal culture, and vestiges of British, colonial rule.  An Indian woman's body, then, is owned by a US, for-profit industry--commodified for US gain.

Where is the ethical line drawn here?  Keeping with the ABC World News, the on-going segment, "Made in America," should also be extended to the expensive reproductive technology industry.  "Made in America," in every sense of the term, needs to be the capitalistic industry that we Americans support.

1 comment:

GoHeyJudy said...

Oh, that's awful. What is WRONG with people? On both sides of the Atlantic? There are ethical and moral lines that absolutely cannot be crossed. This is how we get to where we are.

I read in National Geographic (dentist office) about child brides in India as well as Yemen and Afghanistan. Absolutely horrible.

It's not political. It's moral and ethical. And that's my agreed opinion. Not that I'm ever short on one. LOL.