Womb for Sale

This article didnt sit well with me. While the author tries to maintain some sort of objective tone to voice the ambiguities, it all read as a surreal story of perverted neo-colonialism and dominant commodification.

womb.jpgThe NY Times author writes about the spread of a surrogate mother industry in India. Whereas surrogacy in America can cost upwards to $80,000, globalized outsourcing cuts the cost to a mere $5000 in India. This fast-growing $445-million-a-year business is extremely lucrative. However, I cant understand the ethics.

Listening to the NPR piece, the sense of entitlement the American Julie borders on the absurd. She languishes that American surrogates may be smoking, drinking alcohol, doing drugsno one policing her in the sense that you dont know whats going on. For Julie she prefers India where surrogate women are stored in a clinic or one of the supervised homes, making it easier to monitor diet and health. This kind of control just wouldnt be possible in the States, says Julie.

The author believes that leasing wombs can be empowering. For individual women this may be the case when faced with abject poverty. Indias poverty is brutal. Thus I pass no judgment on the poor rural women. However I MUST condemn the institutional hierarchies and poverty that makes such global inequality possible. For me, there can be no hesitancy or ambiguity. Such practices occur because of the conditions that make people sell their kidneys in India. This only furthers the problem of commodification of women in that their womb is nothing more than a money-maker. Does this lead to greater violence towards women? The effects of the commodification of women have already been discussed on this young blog. Global inequality must be condemned in the strongest terms. There is no moral relativism. Where there is such disparate global inequality, we have global injustice.


bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark
tabs-top


4 Responses to “Womb for Sale”

  1. Sundari says:

    I cannot begin to imagine the experience of infertility, so I think it is important to acknowledge that such an issue cannot be judged quite so easily. Nevertheless, this phenomenon of buying wombs and the opinion that this is actually “empowering” for Indian women is quite difficult for me to accept. What this shows is not simply a new and innovative “idea” that the West has come up with as a solution to infertility, but it highlights a complex web of disparities that are taken advantage of by wealthier nations and individuals each and every day.

    While the argument seems to be that this is actually a path for alleviating these women from poverty, it actually shows the contradiction of the situation. On one side, the desperation of *need* by Indian women living in poverty and on the other side, the desire of *want* by women with wealth and resources. So who is actually benefiting from this? Is it really mutual? Perhaps this is just another way we, as wealthier and more elite members of the global community, are imposing our advancement upon these communities and disguising it as a way to lift them out of poverty (and at the same time utilizing their resources)…

  2. Sundari says:

    I cannot begin to imagine the experience of infertility, so I think it is important to acknowledge that such an issue cannot be judged quite so easily. Nevertheless, this phenomenon of buying wombs and the opinion that this is actually empowering for Indian women is quite difficult for me to accept. What this shows is not simply a new and innovative idea that the West has come up with as a solution to infertility, but it highlights a complex web of disparities that are taken advantage of by wealthier nations and individuals each and every day.

    While the argument seems to be that this is actually a path for alleviating these women from poverty, it actually shows the contradiction of the situation. On one side, the desperation of *need* by Indian women living in poverty and on the other side, the desire of *want* by women with wealth and resources. So who is actually benefiting from this? Is it really mutual? Perhaps this is just another way we, as wealthier and more elite members of the global community, are imposing our advancement upon these communities and disguising it as a way to lift them out of poverty (and at the same time utilizing their resources)…

  3. vivek says:

    For “Julie” she prefers India where surrogate women are ‘stored’ in a “clinic or one of the supervised homes, making it easier to monitor diet and health. This kind of control just wouldn’t be possible in the States, says Julie.”

    Wow, I can't believe she said that. It's like Vanessa Williams' character on Ugly Betty!

    sigh. There are, sadly, a number of ways in which globalization has led to the commodification of the human body. Hair is another example.

  4. vivek says:

    For Julie she prefers India where surrogate women are stored in a clinic or one of the supervised homes, making it easier to monitor diet and health. This kind of control just wouldnt be possible in the States, says Julie.

    Wow, I can’t believe she said that. It’s like Vanessa Williams’ character on Ugly Betty!

    sigh. There are, sadly, a number of ways in which globalization has led to the commodification of the human body. Hair is another example.