The Paradox of Surrogacy in India

  • Amrita Pande


In this essay, I complicate the notion of commercial surrogacy as reproductive labour by highlighting two fundamentally paradoxical characteristics of this labour market. One, that a market in assisted reproduction and pro-natalism is booming in an otherwise aggressively anti-natalist state and two, that a market that literally produces humans and human relationships is critically dependent on the maintenance of a global racial reproductive hierarchy that privileges certain relationships while completely denying others.


Assisted Reproductive Technology International Adoption Global South Global North Surrogacy Arrangement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Adams, D., & Allan, S. (2013). Building a family tree: Donor-conceived people, DNA tracing and donor anonymity. Australian Journal of Adoption, 7(2), ebp002.Google Scholar
  2. Carney, S. (2011). The Red Market. Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  3. Chatterjee, N., & Riley, N. E. (2001). Planning an Indian modernity: The gendered politics of fertility control. Signs, 26(3), 811-845.Google Scholar
  4. Colen, S. (1995). Like a mother to them: Stratified reproduction and west indian childcare workers and employers in New York. In Faye Ginsburg & Rayna Rapp (Eds.), Conceiving the new world order: The global politics of reproduction (pp. 78–99). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  5. Darvosky, M., & Beeson, D. (2014). Working paper no. 601. Global surrogacy practices, report for thematic area 5 international forum on intercountry adoption and global surrogacy 11–13 August. The Hague, Netherlands: International Institute of Social Studies.Google Scholar
  6. Ehrlich, R. S. (2011). Thai company accused of trafficking vietnamese women to breed. Washington Times, March 7.Google Scholar
  7. Gibbon, Sahra, & Novas, Carlos. (2008). Introduction to biosocialities, genetics, and the social sciences—making biologies and identities. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Gruenbaum, E. (1998). Resistance and embrace: Sudanese rural women and systems of power. In Margaret Lock and Patricia Kaufert (Eds.), Pragmatic Women and Body Politics (pp 58–76). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Pande, A. (2010). Commercial surrogacy in india: Manufacturing a perfect ‘Mother-Worker’. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 35(4): 969–994.Google Scholar
  10. Pande, A. (2014). Wombs in labor: Transnational commercial surrogacy in India. New York: Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Pande A. (2015). The kin labor in kinship travel: Intended mothers and surrogates in India. Anthropologica: Canada’s Anthropology Journal [May 2015 Special Issue on Kinship Travel]. 57(1): 53–62.Google Scholar
  12. Pennings, G. (2002). Reproductive tourism as moral tourism in motion. Journal of Medical Ethics, 28, 337–341.Google Scholar
  13. Perappadan, B. S. (2014). Activists call for stringent regulations for surrogacy. The Hindu.
  14. Roberts, E. F. S. (1998). Examining surrogacy discourses: between feminine power and exploitation. In Small Wars: The Cultural Politics of Childhood, 1, 93–110.Google Scholar
  15. Robertson, J. A. (2004). Protecting embryos and burdening women: assisted reproduction in Italy. Human Reproduction, 19, 1693–1696.Google Scholar
  16. Storrow, R. (2010). The pluralism problem in cross-border reproductive care. Human Reproduction, 25, 2939–2943.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer India 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations