Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2011


Indian Surrogacy, Reproductive Tourism, Reproductive Justice, Feminist Bioethics


My project here is to argue for a reproductive justice approach to Indian surrogacy. I begin by crafting the best picture of Indian surrogacy available to me while marking some worries about the role of discursive colonialism and epistemic honesty in this project. Western feminists’ responses to contract pregnancy fall loosely into two moments: Post-Baby M approaches that raised questions about the morality of surrogacy and the new reproductive technologies, and more recent feminist ethnographic engagements that aim to capture how these practices are lived, embodied, and negotiated. Both approaches have shortcomings. Extending Western moral frameworks (e.g. liberal feminist approaches) to Indian surrogacy work raises the specter of colonialism; and with it, worries about how Western intellectual traditions distort, erase, or misread the lived experiences of non-Western subjects. Feminist ethnographic approaches raise the specter of moral absenteeism; and with it, concerns about overlooking very real structural harms and injustices shaping surrogate worker’s lived experiences. I conclude with a brief explanation of why Reproductive Justice avoids these twin specters and leave readers to consider the moral implications of outsourcing pregnancy to a country with such an abysmal record on women’s health.


This article was originally published in Hypatia 26, no. 4 (2011): 715-741.

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