Hello! this is Niharika Pathak writing for Unit 8. Unit 8 included an article from Elly Teman, “The Social Construction of surrogacy research: An anthropological critique of the psychosocial scholarship on surrogate motherhood.” Social Science and Medicine and the film, MADE IN INDIA.
The film explores the challenges of infertile women or women who have problems conceiving and what they have to go through in order to have a child. This film exploring the surrogacy option and the reproductive out sourcing business with some women not having an available surrogate or the healthcare coverage to afford one, they would travel to foreign countries in the east such as India in order to find a surrogate at price financially fit for them.
The film shows how far both mothers will go for their children, the surrogate mother trying to earn money that she will be offered, by going through with the pregnancy, and the American women who is trying to become a mother and is willing to travel many miles to create her family. This shows how many problems the American healthcare system has if there has been an increase of foreign patients in Indian fertility clinics because of the steep price American families would of have to pay in the American healthcare system for the surrogacy. Even in Indian culture, as seen in the film, many husbands of the surrogates were also apprehensive about having someone else’s child in their wives and often misunderstood, thinking that another man’s sperm would impregnate their wife. As well as a social stigma of giving birth to children that are not your own. The cultural norm of the man not wanting sperm donation for his wife was also seen in the study done in Lebanon we read.
Being Indian myself, and seeing first hand how intensely horrible the living conditions and poverty can be in India, it is very understandable to see why the reproductive out-sourcing is becoming more popular for American couples to try, there is some moral conflict about surrogacy and creating it into a business all for profit. But because both parties are initially benefiting, with the infertile American couple getting a surrogate and child at much lower price. As well as the indian surrogate women in poverty will now be getting a large sum of money that will definitely be of use to her family. This film being made in early 2000s, there were some different legal protocols and guidelines issues with the birth certificates of the children being in the name of the surrogate mother and not the genetic mother so she was not allowed to see her children. There was also policy to be made advocating for the surrogate’s rights.
The article from Teman describes her methodology of exploring the western assumptions on family and how it can differ from the eastern customs. She researches the scientific and phycological effects that participating in surrogacy can have on the women, and what kind of attachments are made between the host and child and what happens when the child is taken away. It explores the reasons of women choosing to become a surrogate and the results of that action. She argues that wanting to become a surrogate in exchange for money is not a normal behavior. This brings up the question of the ethics and morality of surrogacy, is justified to have a women go through pregnancy just for them to give the child up, even if they get attached?