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Wombs in Labor: Transnational Commercial Surrogacy in India

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Clients from all over the world hire Indian women to bear their children for a fraction of the cost of surrogacy elsewhere with little to no government oversight or regulation. In the first detailed ethnography of India’s surrogacy industry, Amrita
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  Surrogacy is India’s new form of outsourcing, as couples from all over the world hire Indian women to bear their children for a fraction of the cost of surrogacy elsewhere with little to no gov-ernment oversight or regulation. In the first detailed ethnography of India’s surrogacy industry, Amrita Pande visits clinics and hos-tels and speaks with surrogates and their families, clients, doc-tors, brokers, and hostel matrons in order to shed light on this burgeoning business and the experiences of the laborers within it. From recruitment to training to delivery, Pande’s research focuses on how reproduction meets production in surrogacy and how this reflects characteristics of India’s larger labor system. Pande’s interviews prove surrogates are more than victims of dis-ciplinary power, and she examines the strategies they deploy to retain control over their bodies and reproductive futures. While some women are coerced into the business by their families, others negotiate with clients and their clinics to gain access to technologies and networks otherwise closed to them. As surro-gates, the women Pande meets get to know and make the most of advanced medical discoveries. They traverse borders and straddle relationships that test the boundaries of race, class, reli-gion, and nationality. Those who focus on the inherent inequali-ties of India’s surrogacy industry believe the practice should be either banned or strictly regulated. Pande instead advocates for a better understanding of this complex labor market, envisioning an international model of fair-trade surrogacy founded on open-ness and transparency in all business, medical, and emotional exchanges. COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS $28.00  / £19.50  · paper · 978-0-231-16991-2 SEPTEMBER 2014 272 pages South Asia Across the Disciplines  Wombs in Labor Transnational Commercial Surrogacy in India  Amrita Pande AMRITA PANDE is a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Cape Town. Her research focuses on the intersection of new technologies and reproductive labor, and her writings have has appeared in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society  , Gender and Society  , Critical Social Policy  , International Migration Review  , Qualitative Sociology  , Feminist Studies , Indian Journal of Gender Studies , Reproductive BioMedicine , and in several edited volumes. She is also an educator-performer and is currently involved in a multimedia theater performance, Made in India: Notes from a Baby Farm , which is based on her ethnographic work on surrogacy. ORDER ONLINE NOW AND SAVE 30%   CUP.COLUMBIA.EDU  Enter Code: PANWOM  for 30% discount Regular shipping and handling charges apply. Customers in the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and South Africa,  please contact our UK distributor WILEY via email: customer@wiley.com. “An invaluable work. Pande writes vividly, sensitively, and with critical intelligence about an incredibly complex modern phe-nomenon. Her attentiveness to the diverse situations and per-sonalities of surrogate mothers is her book’s greatest strength. A gripping read.” —Ann Grodzins Gold, Syracuse University “[A] brave and unique study . . . Highly perceptive, deeply thoughtful, and analytically nuanced, Pande proposes new answers to a new question. An important book and a great read.” —Arlie Hochschild, author of The Outsourced Self: What Happens When We Pay Others to Live Our Lives for Us
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