Can we see the baby bump please?
Routine Skype conversations with the commissioning parents of the child growing in her womb does not make the surrogate’s condition less alienating. Performed in this peculiar configuration, reproductive labour of women from marginalised backgrounds is the keystone of the rapidly expanding fertility industry. The global reach of medical tourism and commercial surrogacy spawns a range of clinics and practices across big cities and small towns in India.
The choice to become a surrogate plays out sometimes as having to face stigma for such a use of the body and at others through making changes in their lifestyle and self-perception of the pregnancy towards relinquishing the child. The consequent efforts to invisiblise or undermine the significance of women’s labour can often add to the potentially exploitative conditions that these women have to negotiate in their lives; a concern that is only strengthened in the absence of any regulation. ‘Can we see the baby bump please?’ meets with surrogates, doctors, agents, law firms and family in an attempt to understand the practice of commercial surrogacy in the Indian context.
Special Mention, 10th Jeevika: Asia Livelihood Documentary Festival, New Delhi, 2013