Home / India / “Rent a Womb”: India’s “Growing Industry”; Is it Biological Colonialism?

“Rent a Womb”: India’s “Growing Industry”; Is it Biological Colonialism?

Many women from outside India – specially developed world – are “renting wombs” of Indian women to have their babies.

In a study recently published in Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, researchers found that there has been “an increasing demand in the number of couples registering children to foreign surrogates” from the UK.

Australia is another major source of demand for Indian surrogate mothers, according to study by Surrogacy Australia. The study found that, in 2012, there were 200 surrogacy births in India to Australian couples, compared with 179 in 2011 and just 86 in 2010.

There have been “different media reports suggesting that around half of overseas commissioning parents using Indian surrogates are from Australia,” according to Dr Marilyn Crawshaw, an independent researcher and practitioner in the UK.

The going rate for an Indian Womb: $16,000 and $32,000.

Some are calling it “Biological Colonialism”.

The commercialization of women’s uteruses in India — a big business there — is only one example of what I call “biological colonialism.” These days, instead of whole nations colonizing other countries in order to seize their natural wealth, an individual “colonialist” exploits a destitute and powerless person to enhance his or her own health or happiness. Indeed, the living human body is quickly becoming one of the world’s most valuable commercial commodities.

The 2009 book Larry’s Kidney, by Danial Asa Rose, recounts another tragic tale of biological colonialism. Rose’s cousin Larry needed a new kidney. Rather than wait in line like everyone else, Larry flew to China with his cousin to buy one on the black market. After a series of mishaps and complications, Larry got his new blood filter. Oh joy for Larry!

But what about the “donor”? Organs sold in China are mostly taken from political or criminal prisoners (perhaps including persecuted Falun Gong practitioners) who are tissue-typed and then executed. In all likelihood, the person from whom Larry’s new kidney was extracted was killed in order to provide Larry’s life-giving kidney, and the broker received a big payday.

Is this “outsourcing of womb” ethical?  Or even correct?


Featured Image Credit: Stephanie Sinclair

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