Faculty Publications
 

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

Excerpt

This Article breaks new ground by closely reading the emerging ethnographic accounts of surrogacy to establish that current feminist frames are incomplete. It incorporates the political economy of surrogacy, the economic relationship of surrogacy to the Indian state, and the political economy of surrogates' families, which have all been missing from the current dialogue. The Article concludes that the benefits of surrogate labor outweigh its disadvantages and develops a new framework-of surrogacy as labor-that will, for the first time, protect the surrogate as a worker.

Abstract

This Article breaks new ground by closely reading the emerging ethnographic accounts of surrogacy to establish that current feminist frames are incomplete. It incorporates the political economy of surrogacy, the economic relationship of surrogacy to the Indian state, and the political economy of surrogates’ families, which have all been missing from the current dialogue. The Article concludes that the benefits of surrogate labor outweigh its disadvantages and develops a new framework — of surrogacy as labor — that will, for the first time, protect the surrogate as worker.Surrogacy, as a fairly open regulatory field, provides feminists with a unique opportunity to devise appropriate legislation. In order to inform that legislation, the Article explores regulations in the United States and South Africa and argues that, given the unique political economy of Indian surrogacy and the commercial nature of the surrogacy market, broader labor protections are required to undergird the current private contract regime. In other words, legislation must take the business of surrogacy seriously as a business and treat Indian women who engage as surrogates as its workers. Only by marrying labor regulations and standard contract terms will surrogates be protected from exploitation and able to demand fairer terms and conditions from affluent commissioning parents and local clinic owners who currently profit from their labor.

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