Where do you really stand on surrogacy?
A new book takes you on a journey through the process that will likely make you rethink your views on the unregulated practice.
The demand for surrogacy in India was so high that it made way for professional surrogacy agencies to enter the market as foreigners thronged accommodating IVF clinics, wanting a child. The market came under severe criticism for exploiting the surrogates, among other things.
Anindita Majumdar’s Transnational Commercial Surrogacy and the (Un) Making of Kin in India takes on this controversial subject via case studies, introducing readers to various stakeholders in the business that she has interacted with, without identifying them.
Reading the book will make you feel part of the process of childbirth through surrogacy, and it can be an uncomfortable journey. As you explore the dynamics of IVF and surrogacy in India, you realise why the long-pending Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) Bill is vital, and begin to understand what it is still missing.
“The draft law on technology regulates bodies, relationships, and eligibility rather than the use of the technology. This is telling because it points towards the ways in which commercial surrogacy poses foundational questions about how we think and assume kinship to be what it is… Commercial surrogacy disrupts the taken-for-granted nature of our intimate relationships, through technological interventions… in India the transnational nature of the commercial gestational surrogacy arrangement has disrupted many ideas of being and belonging,” the book states.
In it, you also meet characters like Rukhsana, who is a surrogate. “While one [livelihood] is disreputable the other is respectable — at least in comparison. And this is what draws her in: the sui (needle) that will induce a pregnancy without having to sleep with anyone or indulge in prostitution. Instead, Rukhsana underwent injections, transvaginal probes, and finally the birth of a baby to be able to earn the amount of money she had only heard of,” Majumdar states.
Such examples bring to life the many sides to a complex argument, in a way that remains engaging and yet informative. You will turn the last page knowing more than you did before you set out on this journey, and isn’t that what all reading is about?