Social Constructs of Surrogacy: The Indian Perspective
While India, the erstwhile hub of surrogacy, is undergoing constitutional treatment to abolish commercial womb-renting and regulate the baby industry, fears are that banning commercial surrogacy could drive the practice underground and those fears aren’t unsubstantiated. In this backdrop, the present study performs a qualitative analysis, interviewing a sample of women from the Indian city of Chennai, who had been surrogate mothers for monetary benefits. Case studies of surrogates are used to derive the social constructs surrounding surrogacy. A grounded-theory approach is used to induct theories explaining the causal conditions, strategies, core phenomenon and consequences of commercial surrogacy. Study results indicate the family and relationship issues, poverty and low levels of formal education made them vulnerable to agents, who are the key players in this trade and earn a major cut of the income generated. Though the economic lure manages to gain the support of the family, surrogacy largely remains a societal taboo. Surrogate mothers were unaware of their rights, the legal and health implications, but welcome the huge income generated from the womb-renting. Further, surrogates were subjected to high doses of medications during pregnancy and suffered health issues for years post delivery.
KeywordsSurrogacy Grounded theory Legal rights India
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