The Indian government is set to ban surrogacy for foreign couples much to the chagrin of these parenthood hopefuls, surrogate mothers and the doctors involved in the surrogacy process. The issue of surrogacy, particularly that of commercial nature, is a polarising issue across the world.
Even the developed countries stand divided on it. While many states in the US allow commercial surrogacy, France, Germany, Spain and Italy have banned all kinds of surrogacy. Some countries like the UK, Denmark and Belgium allow only altruistic surrogacy.
In the aftermath of the Indian Council of Medical Research’s recent letter to infertility specialists directing them against entertaining foreigners for surrogacy services, a strong demand for better regulations instead of a blanket ban has emerged.
While one may choose to ignore the moral strings attached to surrogacy, it is impossible to ignore the ethical issue of using the bodies of women from economically weak sections of society. It is naïve to assume that all surrogate mothers have a choice in the matter. As in sex work, women’s bodies are at the disposal of those who can afford to use them. Even if the complex issue of choice and agency could be resolved, women’s health opens a Pandora’s Box of contradictions.