According to an article in today’s Mumbai Mirror (you can read it here) some of the top IVF clinics offering surrogacy arrangements to foreigners in Mumbai are under investigation. Two gynaecologists representing the Maharashtra Medical Council will be investigating surrogacy practices at Corian, Rotunda and Lilivati’s IVF clinics. According to the Foreigners Reginal Registration Office, the clinics have been selling surrogacy to foreigners who visit India on a tourist visa. This is a breach of the Union Home Ministry’s December 2012 ruling that only married couples could apply for a medical visa for commercial surrogacy arrangements in India and gay couples and singles would be prohibited from engaging in surrogacy arrangements in India. Watch this space – the report is due in two weeks time.
Category Archives: India
Surrogacy is a hot topic in India. Activist and women’s groups are very much engaged in active research and policy work to ensure women working as surrogates are legally supported with rights that protect their interests.
And it seems that artists are also engaging in this subject. ‘Rabdi‘ is the story of a woman who chooses surrogacy work to make enough money to provide a better education and medical care for her disabled child.
With the up coming program “uncovering” surrogacy in India, I’m starting to feel like surrogacy hostels in India are a like ‘ye olde curiosity shop’ for western reporters. They enter the same hostels attached to the same clinic in the same city in India and report on exploitation, again. I’m not saying we don’t need media covering stories of surrogacy, but a more nuanced approach (and different clinics for example) would be really welcome around now…
Check out this image of the planned one stop shop Doctor Patel of Akshanka has planned! It looks like a design inspired by neurons. You can read the article here if you are interested in a bit of sensational reporting 😉 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2439977/The-baby-factory-In-huge-clinic-India-hundreds-women-paid-5-000-Western-couples-babies.html
I just came across this short documentary of a Dutch couple beginning their surrogacy journey in Hyderbad:
There are two ceremonies involving sacred thread in India (that I know of). One celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters and another the relationship between a boy and his spiritual identity. Raksha Bandhan or the bond of protection is an annual festival in India. During the related ceremony sisters tie a sacred thread, or rakhi, around their brothers wrist. This act symbolises the sisters wish for her brothers well-being as well as the brothers responsibility to protect his sister. The sacred thread ceremony or Upanayana is an initiation ceremony wherein a boy accepts a spiritual identity and teacher. The Jenoi (sacred thread) is tied around the initiated boy’s wrist. In both instances the sacred thread is worn by a male and reminds him of his responsibilities whether related to his spiritual integrity or his brotherly responsibilities. Women may tie the thread but do not wear it. So, it is interesting that a new book on an IP experience of surrogacy in India is titled the Sacred Thread. The author, Adrienne Arieff describes her unusual journey into motherhood. Unlike most IPs who become parents through surrogacy in India, Arieff was able to move to Anand in Gujurat for the duration of the pregnancy and spend time with Vaina, her children’s surrogate. I love the idea of claiming the very male symbol of the sacred thread to describe the relationship between herself and Vaina as well as that between Vaina and the authors children. I can not think of a thread more sacred than the life giving umbilical cord – I love that this notion weaves itself into the imagery of the title.
‘Made in India’ was filmed in 2008 in Mumbai. The film looks at IP, surrogate and clinic perspectives led primarily by the journey of the American intended parents. I heard about the film early in 2011 and saw it first at a screening in the Habitat center in Delhi later that year. Vaishali and Rebecca, the creators of the film, have been encouraging outreach sessions in India. You can have a look at some of the reactions to the film during these outreach sessions here.
Here is what Vaishali and Rebecca have to say about why they made the film and a little about there own backgrounds:
We come from a background of social justice work, with particular interest in reproductive rights, sexuality and human rights. When we first heard about “outsourcing” surrogacy to India in 2007, we were captivated by the myriad of issues that emerge from this subject matter at the crossroads of body politics, reproductive technologies and globalization.
At the time when we started filming, we noticed that any mainstream conversations around this issue tended to be very polarized: either promoting or condemning the practice. We wanted to bring a nuance to the story that would offer the audience a closer understanding of the intended couple’s and the surrogate’s choices behind their decisions. We wanted to take this intimate journey with all the players involved. Of course, we had no idea how the story would end up, but we trusted that if we let events unfold on their own – all the questions we were interested in exploring would emerge organically. As a result, the film really challenges viewers to come to their own conclusions about the practice.
We set out to create a film that captured the entire surrogacy process as it unfolded. Often this meant something like the amazing race for the film crew as we raced from Texas to Mumbai and back again! In addition to the parallel stories of the western commissioning parents and the surrogate, the “Reproductive Tourism” industry emerged as a key player in this process, as did US and Indian Government bodies. Today the international surrogacy industry is growing exponentially. However, in countries such as India, the process is taking place without regulation, and without adequate judicial recourse for the surrogates, the commissioning parents or the children. Similarly new medical tourism businesses are growing in the US and abroad without a proper code of conduct and ethics in place.
“Made in India” highlights the human stories behind a complex process while raising immediate concerns over women’s health and rights.
This film looks really interesting. It seems to be about an Indian lady who works as a commercial surrogate and then chooses to keep the child. It explores the rights of the surrogate mother over the child it seems. This theme was one of the more interesting themes raised at the recent conference on surrogacy in Gujurat. The idea of the contract, breaking the contract and the place and rights of the surrogate mother in relation to the child. From what I gather this film is only available in Murathi, I will post more info. when I find it. I have spoken with some women who who have worked as gestational surrogates in India and have not come across any who would be interested in keeping the child they carry. It is interesting that there is possibly a difference between the actual issues and the perceived issues. But again, I have not seen the film yet so I will post more when I have.
The Gujurat National Law University is organizing a ‘National Conference on Surrogacy: Issues and Challenges’. The conference was originally scheduled for the 17th of September but has been moved to the 9th of October.
The conference aims at:
“Recognising the need to discuss various issues clouding the concept of surrogacy which is a contemporary practice, especially in India, the conference hopes to address the issues and challenges surrounding Surrogacy. The Conference will see the convergence of Medical and Legal scholars and will provide a platform to all stakeholders to deliberate the issues in a comprehensive manner, stated a press release.”
You can have a look at the details here.
This will be an interesting conference in light of the upcoming ARTS bill here in India. More discussion and research is needed and I am very excited about attending. I will post afterwards and let you all know how it went and some of the main issues discussed.