Technologies of Enchantment: Commercial Surrogacy and Egg Donation in India

  • Michaela Stockey-Bridge


The chapter describes intending parents (IPs) narrative accounts of their experiences of egg donation and surrogacy in India. IPs describe non-technological selection in their narratives of family formation, referred to in this chapter as selective moments. IPs emotional investments in these moments are highlighted in the narratives of selecting gamete donors and surrogate mothers. Drawing on data from two different groups of participants, the chapter examines how selective moments differ for gay men and heterosexual couples. The thread that connects all the instances discussed is the emotion embedded in the selective processes involved in commercial surrogacy as conveyed by Australian IPs.


Selective reproductive technologies Surrogacy India Australia Egg donation 


  1. Anleu, S.R. 1992. Surrogacy: For Love But Not for Money? Gender and Society 6: 30–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bellware, K. 2014. White Woman Who Sued Sperm Bank Over Black Baby Says It’s Not About Race. The Huffington Post, October 3.Google Scholar
  3. Berkhout, S.G. 2008. Buns in the Oven: Objectification, Surrogacy, and Women’s Autonomy. Social Theory and Practice 34: 95–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blyth, E., and L. Frith. 2009. Donor-Conceived People’s Access to Genetic and Biographical History: An Analysis of Provisions in Different Jurisdictions Permitting Disclosure of Donor Identity. International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family 23: 174–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bokek-Cohen, Y.A. 2015. How Do Anonymous Sperm Donors Signal Credibility Through Their Self-Presentations? Health Sociology Review 24: 81–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. de Castro, E.V. 2012. The Gift and the Given: Three Nano-Essays on Kinship and Magic. In Kinship and Beyond: The Genealogical Model Reconsidered, ed. S.C. Bamford and J. Leach. New York: Berghan.Google Scholar
  7. Desai, K. 2012. India, a Designer Baby Factory? First Post, Life. Accessed 6 June 2017.
  8. Franklin, S. 2013. Biological Relatives: IVF, Stem Cells, and the Future of Kinship. Durham and London: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gammeltoft, T.M. 2013. Potentiality and Human Temporality. Current Anthropology 54: S159–S171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gammeltoft, T.M., and A. Wahlberg. 2014. Selective Reproductive Technologies. Annual Review of Anthropology 43: 201–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gell, A. 1988. Technology and Magic. Anthropology Today 4: 6–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Georges, E. 1996. Fetal Ultrasound Imaging and the Production of Authoritative Knowledge in Greece. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 10: 157–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Greenfeld, D.A., and E. Seli. 2011. Gay Men Choosing Parenthood Through Assisted Reproduction: Medical and Psychosocial Considerations. Fertility and Sterility 95: 225–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gupta, J.A. 2006. Towards Transnational Feminisms: Some Reflections and Concerns in Relation to the Globalization of Reproductive Technologies. European Journal of Women’s Studies 13: 23–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hill, E. 2010. Worker Identity, Agency and Economic Development, Womens Empowerment in the Indian Informal Economy. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Inhorn, M.C., and S. Tremayne. 2016. Islam, Assisted Reproduction, and the Bioethical Aftermath. Journal of Religion and Health 55: 422–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kirkman, L. 2010. The Good Sense About Surrogacy. Viewpoint [Online] 2: 20–24.Google Scholar
  18. Kroløkke, C.H. 2011. Biotourist Performances: Doing Parenting During the Ultrasound. Text and Performance Quarterly 31: 15–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Levine, A.D. 2010. Self-Regulation, Compensation, and the Ethical Recruitment of Oocyte Donors. Hastings Center Report 40: 25–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Marcus, G.E. 1995. Ethnography in/of the World System: The Emergence of Multi-Sited Ethnography. Annual Review of Anthropology 24: 95–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Markens, S. 2007. Surrogate Motherhood and the Politics of Reproduction. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and California: University of California Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. McCandless, J. 2005. Recognition of Family Diversity: The ‘Boundaries’ of RE G. Feminist Legal Studies 13: 323–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McDougall, L. 2014. The Biomagical Vulva: A ‘Clean Slit’. PhD, Macquarie University.Google Scholar
  24. Millbank, J. 2011. The New Surrogacy Parentage Laws in Australia: Cautious Regulation or ‘25 Brick Walls’? Melbourne University Law Review 35: 165.Google Scholar
  25. ———. 2014. Identity Disclosure and Information Sharing in Donor Conception Regimes: The Unfulfilled Potential of Voluntary Registers. International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family 28: 223–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Munjal-Shankar, D. 2014. Identifying the “Real Mother” in Commercial Surrogacy in India. Gender, Technology and Development 18: 387–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Norton, W., N. Hudson, and L. Culley. 2013. Gay Men Seeking Surrogacy to Achieve Parenthood. Reproductive BioMedicine Online 27: 271–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Novakovic, B., and R. Saffery. 2012. The Ever Growing Complexity of Placental Epigenetics—Role in Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes and Fetal Programming. Placenta 33: 959–970.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pande, A. 2009. ‘It May be Her Eggs But It’s My Blood’: Surrogates and Everyday Forms of Kinship in India. Qualitative Sociology 32: 379–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pinborg, A., A. Loft, L.B. Romundstad, U.-B. Wennerholm, V. Söderström-Anttila, C. Bergh, and K. Aittomäki. 2016. Epigenetics and Assisted Reproductive Technologies. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 95: 10–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ragoné, H. 1994. Surrogate Motherhood: Conceptions of the Heart. Boulder and Oxford: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  32. ———. 1996. Chasing the Blood Tie: Surrogate Mothers, Adoptive Mothers and Fathers. American Ethnologist 23: 352–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ravelingien, A., V. Provoost, E. Wyverkens, A. Buysse, P. De Sutter, and G. Pennings. 2015. Lesbian Couples’ Views About and Experiences of Not Being Able to Choose Their Sperm Donor. Culture, Health and Sexuality 17: 592–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rowland, R. 1992. Living Laboratories: Women and Reproductive Technologies. Sydney: Spinifex Press.Google Scholar
  35. Sifris, A. 2015. The Family Courts and Parentage of Children Conceived Through Overseas Commercial Surrogacy Arrangements: A Child-Centred Approach. Journal of Law and Medicine 23: 396.Google Scholar
  36. Swan, N. 1990. Australian Ethics Committee Approves Surrogacy. British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Ed.) 301: 254.Google Scholar
  37. Teman, E. 2010a. Birthing a Mother. The Surrogate Body and the Pregnant Self. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. ———. 2010b. My Bun, Her Oven. Anthropology Now 2: 33–41.Google Scholar
  39. Whittaker, A. 2015. Thai In Vitro: Gender, Culture and Assisted Reproduction. New York: Berghahn.Google Scholar
  40. Whyte, S., and B. Torgler. 2015. Selection Criteria in the Search for a Sperm Donor: Behavioural Traits Versus Physical Appearance. Journal of Bioeconomics 17: 151–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Whyte, S., B. Torgler, and K.L. Harrison. 2016. What Women Want in Their Sperm Donor: A Study of More than 1000 Women’s Sperm Donor Selections. Economics and Human Biology 23: 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Williams-Jones, B. 2002. Commercial Surrogacy and the Redefinition of Motherhood. The Journal of Philosophy, Science and Law 2: 13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Yovich, J. 1988. IVF Surrogacy and Absent Uterus Syndromes. The Lancet (British Edition) 332: 331–332.Google Scholar
  44. Zanghellini, A. 2010. Lesbian and Gay Parents and Reproductive Technologies: The 2008 Australian and UK Reforms. Feminist Legal Studies 18: 227–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michaela Stockey-Bridge
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Technology SydneyEastwoodAustralia

Personalised recommendations