Rachel Radyk David C. MacMillan First Edition
Editorial Internationally, there is much divide on the contentious issue surrounding the growing global market to satisfy the notion of genetic belonging in inherently patriarchal societies. “Fertility Tourism” - rather, the travelling of people with any number of reproductive inabilities seeking to have a child with familial genetic make-up in developing countries - is seemingly admirable, yet it exploits the ‘host’, and leaves developing economies globally peripheral; their services, such as healthcare, are provided directly to travellers from the West, which, ergo, creates a hegemony in the development of economies and services. We will be looking specifically at surrogacy, which has the potential to further colonialism in India, shaping the discourse of reproductive oppression. The commodification of reproduction can be seen as a pervasive genderbased exploitation as the result of relational social and economic conditions. Through an examination of the comparison the violations of women working as surrogates in india to the rights violations of the labour worker, criticism of neo-colonialism, feminist perspectives, and international documents such as the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development, we seek to outline the argument of why the reproductive trafficking market is problematic and how structural and systemic implications of outsourcing pregnancy to women in economically disadvantaged situations, and how this perpetuates their subordination. We seek mainly to facilitate this discussion, and invite the reader to consider the presented, alternative, perspectives on such a contentious issue, investigating the link between the ongoing medical tourism initiatives and the maintenance of imperialism in the developing world.
Table of Contents Intro Developemnt of India Cross-Border Reproduction in a Feminist and Colonialist Perspective A personal story Reproductive Justice Living Conditions of an Indian Surrogate The Canadian Perspective Comparing the Rights of a Surrogate to the Rights of the Labour Worker Conclusion
An Introduction to Surrogacy in India By Rachel Radyk
a photo of surrogate mothers in a fertility residential wing.
Globalization of developing countries for inexpensive labour is becoming even more of a human rights issue with medical and reproductive tourism. Reproductive tourism, is medically assisting people with reproductive deficiencies to have a child of their own instead of choosing to adopt. Medical tourism gives reproductive deficient people the chance of having a child that physically appears to be a part of the family. However there are many differences between the treatment of the surrogate mothers working in developed countries and developing countries. Reproductive tourism in India goes through the process of the customers meeting the middle man and the doctors, however rarely meeting the woman who will be carrying their child. Surrogates working as a form of labour in India merely act as the host of the international customers child. Surrogate mothers in India merely act as the host for the customerâ€™s child. Surrogates rent out their own sexual organs as a source of labour to support their own families.Surrogacy is legalized in India in 2002 however, billâ€™s are still In India is at the stage of legalizing surrogacy through the ART (assisted reproductive technologies) regulation bill drafted in drafted in 2010 by the Indian council of research.i Medical tourism has been in India since 1991, money flows to aid in the construction of extravagant hospitals made to accommodate international medical tour
ist customers.ii Assisted reproductive technology is raising a plethora of issues including medical, social,ethical and legal problems.iii Assisted reproductive tourism is impacting the wo men-working as surrogates in India. Surrogates working in India for fertility clinics are being taken advantage for the benefit of international reproductive deficient couples. Drawing on the human rights violations of the surrogate workers ethical and legal concerns of the surrogate workers in India. Customers travel internationally to India to go through the process of assisted reproductive tourism to obtain a child that is genetically their own. The hopeful parents legitimize the living conditions of the surrogate by convincing themselves they are helping a woman that is financially unstable, however the hopeful parents are truly
experimenting with an afford able avenue of obtaining a child. Surrogacy in developing countries is giving international clients at more affordable pricing. However the India infertility clinics are not financially suffering from the lower prices of ART’s, the women who are desperate to make money to support their families . Individuals or clinics that can provide surrogacy programs at a lower cost, to serve the constant demand of wealthier nations. However little is being done to protect the rights of the surrogate on a national level or international level. The reproductive market is globalizing between the wealthy nations and the poor nations the people who suffer the most from this process are the Indian women and the children.iv
Development according to the United Nations declaration on the right to development defines it to be the cultural, economic, political and social processes for the betterment of the population as a whole. 1 The over-arching patriarchal hegemony which dominates societies in the world continues to oppress women in the trans-national commercial gestational surrogacy indus-
The Development of Colonial India By David MacMillan
-ial complex. This is reinforces the dependency theory of at a tangible level in the ‘non-valuable’ women as hosts for the ‘valued’ participant.2 The theory outlines that the because these women are poor, they have to sell their womb out of economic and social desperation while the doctors are specifically trained to take care of American and British patients which gives confidence to the ‘valued’ participant. These initiatives are seemingly admirable, yet exploit the host, and the developing economies continue to be globally peripheral; their resources such as healthcare are provided directly to persons in developed states, which, by proxy, control the economies and service of healthcare to these societies.3 The result is neo-colonialism, which can be understood as the rule of one society, the West, holding economic hegemony over another society, without the traditional military presence.4 India has been subjected to colonial powers ever since the 17th century when companies, like that of the east India company; of a royal charter from the British crown, ruled 5 . The East India Company gained power through regional alliances, trade, military presence and administrative functions and was colonized. More recently Dr. Manmohan Singh, lead India to economic reform in the late 20th century through economic liberalism and the outsourcing of operations, which created 5 consumer classes: the very rich (6 million households), the consuming class (150 million), the climbers (275),
the aspirants (275 million), and the financially destitute (100 million) (374 tyaroor).5 In turn one of the world’s fastest growing economies. The declaration on the right to development, in article 2 states that “All human beings have a responsibility for development, individually and collectively, taking into account the need for full respect for their human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as their duties to the community, which alone can ensure the free and complete fulfilment of the human being, and they should therefore promote and protect an appropriate political, social and economic order for development.”6 This may raise the question of the violation of international law since the transnational commercial gestational surrogacy industrial complex’s “policy” of ‘medical tourism for those who already have adequate or developed healthcare which will lead to a deepening of the inequities” already embedded in the health care system. In India, there is publicly funded healthcare; however it can only be described as inefficient at most and there is private healthcare; which tailors to the upper ‘consumer’ classes of Indian society.7 This results in the deepening divide between the two classes as well as the trans-national divide8 which exploits the workers in the first place. Medical tourism frames the discussion around the ‘valued’ participant and further devalues the people of India, warranting the criticism that it shapes their economies around the west which in itself is a form of neo-colonialism.
Technology Issues and Surrogacy
By Rachel Radyk
Surrogacy and ART’s are offering several advancements; questioning the essentialism of genetic parentage. v Questioning the medical advancements is a very controversial issue. Artificial reproductive technologies have not been around long enough to fully evaluate the longterm effects of the child or the woman who partakes in the surrogacy process. These women are exposing themselves to new technologies and medications to ensure a safe delivery of the baby. However, most surrogacy clinics upon the implantation process in America uses one to two embryos into the woman’s uterus, while India fertility clinics use around three to five . This medical procedure favors the international couple, saving both their time and money by increasing the embryo count. This procedure is used for maximizing the number of children per round of IVF. Also another issue effecting the surrogates is mental health. Postpartum depression may ensue when the women are forced to part with the baby that they gave birth too. If such psychological conditions vi http://prospectjournal. ucsd.edu/index.php/2012/01/ wombs-for-rent-outsourcing-surrogacy-to-india/ The more amount of embryos increases the success chances of the surrogate becoming successfully pregnant. However
chances of the surrogate be- India, the Rent-a-Womb Capital of the coming successfully pregnant. The country’s booming market for surrogacy (via. slate.com) By Amana Fontanella-Khan However having more than one potential embryo in the surrogates uterus not only increases her chances of having a cesarian section but, also threatens the child. Red market vii Parent’s striving for a genetically compatible child, do so in secrecy to keep the social normalization of the family structure.
You can outsource just about any work to India these days, including making babies. Reproductive tourism in India is now a half-a-billion-dollar-a-year industry, with surrogacy services offered in 350 clinics across the country since it was legalized in 2002. The primary appeal of India is that it is cheap, hardly regulated, and relatively safe. Surrogacy can cost up to $100,000 in the United States, while many Indian clinics charge $22,000 or less. Very few questions are asked. Same-sex couples, single parents and even busy women who just don’t have time to give birth are welcomed by doctors. As a bonus, many Indians speak English and Indian surrogate mothers are less likely to use illegal drugs. Plus medical standards in private hospitals are very high (not all good Indian doctors left in the brain drain). Some describe this as a win-win situation. The doctors get clients, the childless get children and the surrogates get much-needed money. But some media horror stories have challenged this happy vision. In 2007 the Japanese couple Ikufumi and Yuki Yamada came to visit India’s “Surrogacy Queen,” Dr. Nayna Patel, founder of the Akanksha Infertility Clinic. A donor egg and surrogate mother was found and the embryo was implanted in the surrogate’s womb. Before the child was born, however, the Yamadas divorced and Mrs. Yamada no longer wanted the child, which was not biologically hers. Mr. Yamada wanted the baby but could not adopt it due to an Indian colonial-era law that forbids single men from adopting girls. The absence of regulation meant that Baby Manji became India’s first”surrogate orphan” until the father was finally able to adopt her several months, after the Supreme Court intervened. Other cases like the Japanese one have followed, involving Israeli, French, and German citizens. The most shocking stories, however, concern the surrogate mothers. The surrogates, many of whom are cooped up in “surrogacy homes” away from their families for the duration of the pregnancy, are often in dire financial straits. One woman told a journalist that with a $4,000 debt and an alcoholic husband,
she had first considered selling a kidney to get herself out of debt, but decided that the $ 7,000 surrogacy fee was the better option. In another disturbing case, an upper-class Indian woman hired a surrogate to carry her child and invited her to live in her home during the pregnancy. The client accused the surrogate mother of stealing and not only kicked her out of the house. but coolly informed her that she didn’t want her services anymore and that she should terminate the pregnancy. Surrogates get paid only on delivery of the baby, so this kind of situation is economically devastating for a surrogate. It can also severely compromise the ethical and religious beliefs of surrogates who may not wish to undergo an abortion.
Last year, the government began looking to regulate the industry. An Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill is up for discussion in the next parliamentary session, causing renewed interest in the ethical issues. “Surrogacy—Exploiting the Poor?” was one theme of a very popular, Oprah Winfrey-esque talk show on India’s NDTV channel. One academic, professor Mohan Rao, who teaches at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University, said that the country was witnessing “reproductive trafficking,” referring to the fact that most cash-strapped surrogate mothers are from rural India and travel to metropolitan centers to offer their services as a lastditch effort to get money. This view is fiercely challenged by those who see surrogacy as a means to economic empowerment of women and as a decision women should be free to make for themselves. But the usual empowerment vs. exploitation debate eludes something much more fundamental that the surrogate industry reflects about India. India has leap-frogged several stages of development and zoomed straight into a service economy. Indians stock call centers and tech help lines where Westerners can get their questions answered efficiently. In these centers, Indian youths temporarily adopt new per-
sonal identities by using Western names and accents—another, milder way that Indians act as “surrogates,” or substitutes for Westerners. The country is romanced by the idea of selling human capital as its next great commodity. So surrogacy resonates not as an old problem of exploiting the poor but as an inevitable part of the “new India,” where the locals provide much needed services for the new global economy. This kind of forward-thinking economic liberation dovetails with an ideology of personal freedom. “I think women should be free to choose what they do with their bodies,” says Dr. Aniruddha Malpani, a fertility specialist in Mumbai. “We shouldn’t treat them as stupid just because they are poor.” This appeal to modern ideals of self-determination make sense to members of the “new India” like Dr. Malpani and his clients. The problem is that the surrogates are not members of this India. Alan Greenspan writes that “India is fast becoming two entities: a rising kernel of world-class modernity within a historic culture that has been for the most part stagnating for generations.” The surrogates tend to hail from this “historic culture,” which is essentially semi-feudal and pre-industrial. It is this gap that allows for exploitation in surrogacy and other industries to happen,
and it is the gap—not surrogacy itself—that is the root of the problem. To exercise one’s freedom meaningfully requires information and education, and many surrogates are deeply ignorant about what the procedure entails. It is not uncommon for surrogates to authorize contracts with a thumbprint as opposed to a signature because they are illiterate. Even those who are literate often aren’t able to read the contracts, which tend to be written in English. Lack of technological understanding among rural Indians also breeds misconceptions about surrogacy. Many, for example, thought that it would be necessary to sleep with another man in order to conceive. Even the pricing structure of surrogacy perpetuates social inequality: Many religious Indian surrogacy clients would prefer for their child to be birthed by an upper-caste brahmin, so highborn surrogates can get paid up to double. These problems are hardly going to stop the phenomena of surrogacy in India from spreading, though. In fact, one might even suggest that India is moving towards a surrogacybased economy, in which Indians—in call centers and fertility clinics alike—specialize in substituting Westerners in a cheaper, more efficient way.
REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE: reconcieving morals By David MacMillan
Surrogacy work is not inherently immoral, however if the lens of reproductive justice is applied reproductive oppression is revealed, although these are not mutually exclusive. The development of all women, the improvement of the health of Indian society and many other social and economic aspects is needed to create the conditions necessary for any person to truly give fully autonomous decisions.9 The International covenant on civil and political rights outlines the security of person, which extends to the reproductive health which is intrinsically linked to a personâ€™s surroundings.
9.1 Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law
The exploitation that may occur as a result of desperation due to the social and economic conditions of which community, environment, access to proper principals of reproductive justice which reference but are not limited to mobility rights.10 These fertility tourism initiatives have been praised by the general public for their attention to social and economic well-being of the surrogate 11 because the western participants want to be able to rationalize and paternalize the situationthrough the entire narrative in relation to the direct exploitation and the systemic exploitation.
There is a lack of job opportunities for women11 since the privilege is placed upon the man through social expectations to get an education results in the economic degeneration of women. Since there is a large amount of people within the consumer classes, labour is cheaper which means that turning to surrogacy12 due to all of the incentives is more socially acceptable than turning to sex-work which has a much larger social stigma. The women are also sheltered from society so as not to be seen as a burden, when infact they are active members within the economic framework.
The Canadian Perspective By David MacMillan
The question of whether surrogacy is exploitative is a large one, which warrants different perspectives, such as the Canadian perspective, which like that of India is a member of the British Commonwealth. A progressive, feminist commission was formed under “The Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies (RCNRT)” the Canadian government. It recommended in 1993 that Canada should prohibit all surrogacy arrangements and impose significant criminal sanctions, asserting that women could not give true informed consent to at the time of conception relinquish full parental rights of the child.13 With Full potential for the exploitation of vulnerable women
whose security of person are often compromised due to education, income or other social, economic and political factors.14 Since surrogacy in India is worth more than $450 million (CAD),15 it is a huge industrial complex which raises concerns that this would result in the commodification of women and children and would further the perpetuation of the patriarchal society and marginalize the social standing of women.16 The very real structural harm to women, especially women who experience disadvantages to power hierarchies and intersectionalities of oppression and feelings of obligation through the potential surrogates lived experiences. The sceptical assessment and
The Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill By Rachel Radyk
There is a bill that is in the process of coming into effect. Bill & Rules 2010 on Assisted Reproductive Technology. This bill has been up for debate since 2008 to put some stipulations on assisted reproductive technologies . This bill will ensure the surrogate mother receives financial compensation for her labour, and the surrogate will give the child to the parents. This bill will also
analysis of surrogacy can tell us that we in the West are seemingly satisfied by this concept of aiding underprivileged communities. Certain policies should be adopted internationally as well as regionally through coordination to ensure that the hosts are protected and accommodated properly. To avoid the commodification of reproduction, this can be seen as a pervasive gender-based exploitation within the context of the trans-national commercial gestational surrogacy industrial complex. We ask this question so that other scholars might explore in-depth medical tourism’s role in the life of those surrogates in underprivileged countries such as India. allow single parents to have children using a surrogate mother. International reproductive tourists must register through the embassy in order to make surrogacy arrangements. Lastly the hopeful parent must produce documentation ensuring the travelers home country will give the child citizenship. xxi Having this bill passed will ensure that the surrogates will be paid a just amount of money for their work and that the traveling parents will have no complications bringing the child to it’s new home.
Labour Rights By Rachel Radyk
Having celebrities such as Oprah promote the globalizing market of reproductive tourism is aiding in the industries growing popularity. Having a familiar face promote a service is very similar to the labour issues with Nike. Even though celebrities support and fashion the products people are well aware of the cheap labour that Nike is using children to make itâ€™s products more afford able to the people of the middle class developed countries. People still purchase the products even though the consumers are well aware of the dirty work that was put into their apprel. Re lating this to surrogacy in India the women are exploited being paid a incomparable amount of money compared to what other surrogates are making around the world. These surrogates live in cramped conditions, exposed to medications that the full effect of the medication is unknown, and unable to leave the clinic for the most part for the duration of the pregnancy. This market exploits impoverished women in India, opening such an affordable market for the middle class people of developed countries. Sets up the market for a high turnover rate, much like in the labour factories. Both the labour worker and the surrogate face constant exploitation for the economic relief of people in western societies looking for affordable products. Most people of western cultures do not think of surrogacy as a livelihood, like the women participating in the procedure do. Like any other form of employment surrogacy is seen as a form of labour, however, it is an exploitive one. Surrogacy can be compared to the child labour in sweat shops. The surrogate must stay in the residential wards of the infertility clinic the entire duration of the pregnancy. The women get treated as property or an investment more than as employees to the clinic. However, other employees benefit from the price decrease for the surrogates work recruiters receive around one thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars for each surrogate that is implemented into the infertility clinic.xxii The economic system of the infertility clinics in india unfortunately puts the mothers last for the india woman makes for being a surrogate. This system relates exactly to child labour as both the woman and the child factory worker are doing the most amount of labour. These companies have caught on the cheaper they can get labour prices the more profit the company revives from the product. Finally India surrogates are being exploited by the reproductive tourists seeking to have a child from one of the three hundred and fifty fertil
by the reproductive tourists seeking to have a child from one of the three hundred and fifty fertility clinics in India. Western travelerâ€™s give the excuse that they are helping a financially unstable woman start a new life, when the reproductive tourists truly are looking for an affordable way to aquire a child that is from their genes. This continues to implement the globalization of the reproductive tourism market in India. Surrogates in India help couples from other countries who have no other choice left for having a child.Having a child is a massive responsibility and a huge investment. Having the infertility clinics look after the well being of the surrogate and the child for the duration of the pregnancy. The intentions of a good cause of spreading the joy of having a child are there, however the clinics must ensure the surrogate is justly paid in order to avoid exploitation of these women.
Gestational Surrogacy as Human Trafficking By David MacMillan
When one takes into account the UN Trafficking (Palermo) Protocol, it is important to note that the protocol is extremely vague13 in itâ€™s description of what human trafficking is, so the question of whether or not Gestational Surrogacy within the context of this magazine could be considered , is an extremely important one to ask. Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.14 However, this argument could only be used in cases where all domestic remedies were exhausted, also it puts great pressure on states party to the protocol to persue a case in this context if it falls under the Prolocolâ€™s framework.15 The legal intersectionality does not include this contentiou issue of the trans-national commerical gestational surrogacy industrial complex. However under the defitnition which includes deception, the abuse of power, or having control of another person for the purpose of exploitation,16 there is a significant amount of room for exploitation in the un-regulated trans-national commercial gestational surrogacy industrial complex. However, it is up to individual nations, who are signatories of the Protocol, to develop their own specific definition of trafficking and develop their own trafficking legislation and use the protocol as more of a guideline.17 What is needed is for governments to explicitly name global surrogacy as a potential form of human trafficking, similar to the mention of organ smuggling, which is named as a type of human trafficking in the UN Trafficking Protocol.18 The UN already recognized the organ smuggling trade, why not the uterus market? At the least, governments need to be aware that there is the potential for serious human trafficking offenses within the emerging global industrial complex.
Conclusion In conclusion, some say Surrogacy helps both parties and we have outlined the argument that it in fact exploits the host. The sceptical assessment and analysis of surrogacy can tell us that we in the West are seemingly satisfied by this concept of aiding underprivileged communities. Certain policies should be adopted internationally, through coordination to ensure that the hosts are protected and accommodated properly, instead of having a regional or national system. To avoid the commodification of reproduction, this can be seen as a pervasive gender-based exploitation within the context of the trans-national commercial gestational surrogacy industrial complex. We ask this question so that other scholars might explore in-depth medical tourism’s role in the life of those surrogates in underprivileged countries such as India. With globalization for inexpensive labour is becoming a human rights issue with in the medical and reproductive tourism industry. Reproductive tourism, helps people with reproductive deficiencies to have a child that is genetically their own . Medical tourism gives reproductive deficient people hope, of having a biological child. Reproductive tourism is deals with the business between the customer and the reproductive agency, excluding the woman who is carrying the child. Surrogate mothers in India merely act as the host for the customer’s child, these women barely even meet the hopeful parents of the child she is conceiving. These women rent out their uterus as a source of labour to support their own families. This essay supports that reproductive tourism correlates with the colonialist lens of women in developing countries working as surrogates, focusing on India. Showing the feminist perspective of reproductive trafficking, and the issues with the illiterate woman giving informed consent to be a surrogate. points out the use and abuse of underprivileged women in India to compensate the women with reproductive deficiencies in developed countries. Showing the unbearable living conditions these women endure in the residential wings of the fertility clinics for the duration of their pregnancy. Lastly It compares the human rights violations of women working as surrogates in India to the rights violations of the labour worker. Comparing the financial difference between the American surrogate’s labour and the Indian woman’s. The consumers of reproductive tourism however, do not travel to India to help an economically desperate Indian woman; the consumer travel’s there to obtain a child that looks like the parent’s and is affordable. Reproductive tourism has many flaw’s within it’s system in India. Women need to be able to see their families during the duration of the nine month span of carrying the child. Seeking treatment as women and not merely host’s of a Western customer’s child. Even though these women are living a different lifestyle and are for the most part living in extreme poverty in comparison to the Western way of life. These women deserve the right to an equal pay that the American woman is receiving for the exact same services half way around the globe no matter the financial situation of the woman. Reproductive tourism is a four hundred and fifty million dollar industry there is no reason these women can not live in better living conditions and receive an equal pay to the American surrogates.
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A project for LAWS1000P A magazine on female surrogacy in India and how it relates to international human rights law