Understanding Gestation Work in India through Surrogacy Contracts

  • Sneha Banerjee (Autor/in)

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This paper engages with surrogacy contracts as crucial texts which seek to codify the role of a woman who act as a surrogate as a service provider engaged in gestation work, and not as a parent despite her central role of carrying a pregnancy and giving birth in a surrogacy arrangement. The paper analyses gestational surrogacy contracts sourced during fieldwork conducted in Delhi-Gurgaon and Mumbai, India and illustrates its salience in a surrogacy arrangement. It supplements a focus on the text of the contracts with insights drawn from interviews with lawyers who frame such contracts and ‘agents’ who recruit and supervise the women acting as surrogates. The paper contextualises the surrogacy contract in the evolving regulatory framework around surrogacy in India and engages in-depth with its main objectives and contents. It demonstrates how as a contract between two parties – the woman acting as the surrogate and commissioning parents – and mediated by facilitators like lawyers and agents, it renders the former to be an unequal party subjected to numerous controls and restrictions.