Expecting Trouble: Surrogacy, Fetal Abuse, and New Reproductive Technologies

By Patricia Boling | Go to book overview

10
The "Gift" of a Child:
Commercial Surrogacy,
Gift Surrogacy, and Motherhood

UMA NARAYAN

LIKE MANY OTHERS, my interest in the moral and legal problems concerning surrogate motherhood was initially provoked by the Baby M. controversy. Since most of the discussions I read focused on the moral and legal ramifications of the practice of commercial surrogacy under a legally enforceable contract, I gave little thought to gift surrogacy. My unreflective assumption was that it was benign compared to commercial surrogacy, perhaps even a laudable practice.

My moral reservations about gift surrogacy were triggered by overhearing some family gossip about a relative in India, who bore a child for her infertile sister. Although the act was regarded as praiseworthy by those who told the story, I was disturbed that the arrangement was to be kept a "family secret." This incident led me to reflect on the fact that both sisters were middle-class housewives who did not work outside the home and how this made it easier for one's pregnancy (and the other's lack thereof) to be concealed -- making it possible to pretend that the infertile sister had given birth. It occurred to me that being able to give birth at home rather than in a hospital (where the name of the child's biological mother would be recorded) made it possible for such exchanges to bypass state scrutiny; I worried about the implications of unregulated exchanges.

As I turned the family gossip over in my mind I made further connections that fueled my moral unease about gift surrogacy. I knew from conversations with workers at Indian adoption agencies that many Indians, higher-caste Hindus in particular, had reservations about adoption since adoptable children were unlikely to be of the "right" caste. I was reminded of arguments here, in the United States, about how it was the shortage of adoptable white infants that made com-

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Expecting Trouble: Surrogacy, Fetal Abuse, and New Reproductive Technologies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Notes 7
  • 2 - The Tailor-Made Child: Implications for Women and the State 9
  • Notes 19
  • References 21
  • 3 - Fetal Personhood: Political Identity Under Construction 25
  • Notes 44
  • References 51
  • 4 - Fetal Endangerment Versus Fetal Welfare: Discretion of Prosecutors in Determining Criminal Liability 55
  • Notes 75
  • References 79
  • 5 - A Gender Analysis of Policy Formation: the Case of Fetal Abuse 85
  • Notes 103
  • References 104
  • 6 - Punishment, Treatment, Empowerment: Three Approaches to Policy for Pregnant Addicts 109
  • Notes 126
  • References 131
  • 7 - The Aclu Philosophy and the Right to Abuse the Unborn 135
  • Notes 140
  • 8 - The Trope of the Dark Continent in the Fetal Harm Debates: "Africanism" and the Right to Choice' 142
  • Notes 152
  • 9 - "Surrogate Mothering" and Women's Freedom: a Critique of Contracts for Human Reproduction 156
  • Notes 171
  • References 174
  • 10 - The "Gift" of a Child: Commercial Surrogacy, Gift Surrogacy, and Motherhood 177
  • Notes 196
  • References 200
  • About the Contributors 203
  • About the Book 205
  • Index 207
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