Commercial Surrogacy: A Contested Terrain in the Realm of Rights and Justice

Sama Resource Group for Women and Health | Arrow | 2016

This paper examines the phenomenon of surrogacy as an industry in India and provides an overview of its operations. An understanding of this industry will be strengthened through an analysis of the regulatory framework in India, and within the broader Asian context. The paper focuses on the way the ideology of family and patriarchal notions of kinship act as drivers for the surrogacy industry, as well as on the interface between new technologies and old social structures that construct families. It then moves toward an assessment of the role of women vis-à-vis the conception of surrogacy as a form of labour. As conclusion, this paper puts forward reflections on the recent regulatory move to ban commercial surrogacy in India and questions whether such a ban serves as a panacea as far as surrogacy is concerned, whereby women’s bodily integrity is at the core, beyond the narrow commercial versus altruistic binary.

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