April 24, 2024

New doco about Indian surrogacy

Tracks an American couple and a Mumbai surrogate

The trailer for “Made in India”, a documentary about surrogacy in India, is finally available. Made by two women, Rebecca Haimowitz and Vaishali Sinha, it tells the story of Lisa and Brian Switzer, an infertile couple from San Antonio, Texas, who commission Aasia Khan, a married mother of three in Mumbai, to carry a baby for them.

The Americans are determined and the Indian is depicted as an independent woman who makes up her own mind.
BioEdge hasn’t seen the film yet, but the publicity blurb says: “As Aasia and the Switzers’ stories grow increasingly tied together — the bigger picture behind the globalization of the Reproductive Industry begins to unfold – revealing questions of citizenship, human rights, global corporate practices, choice, reproductive rights, commodification of the body, legal accountability and notions of motherhood.” Like many independent documentaries, it may be hard to find. Keep a weather eye open!

Concern about the practice of surrogacy in India and elsewhere is growing. Writing on RH Reality Check, a pro-choice blog, Karen Smith Robabi points out the dangers of commercialisation: 

“Much remains to be seen related to this emerging business model and
exactly how vulnerable women will be protected. One thing is guaranteed,
the activity will be marketed as a win-win ‘opportunity’ for poor women
and the individuals and families who seek to build their families in
this manner. Oprah Winfrey already weighed-in on global surrogacy,
highlighting the practice in India and happy US ‘customers’. While
involvement in global markets is important for marginalized peoples,
especially women, one should not underestimate the need for oversight
and ethical standards. Without international regulation, I predict dire
human rights abuses when the activity is practiced en masse in nations
with histories of organized crime and human rights abuses. “

Michael Cook