Cultural constructions of transnational commercial surrogacy in India: A case study of Indian print media




Daftuar, Annu

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In recent years, India has seen a drastic increase in transnational surrogacy, whereby foreign couples seek Indian surrogate mothers to give birth to their children. Advanced medical technology, affordable surrogacy arrangements, and loose legal restrictions make India an ideal choice for prospective parents abroad. India legalized commercial surrogacy in 2002. However, the practice continues to raise bioethical complications such as medicalization and commercialization of women’s bodies, the ethics of the surrogacy procedure, and the interests of the children born out of surrogacy arrangements. The Indian media has played an important role in drawing the attention of the public, scholars, and policy makers, prompting debates and raising questions about globalization, medical technologies, and changing conceptions of family and kinship. Therefore, it becomes important to examine the claims of the media and understand how it influences public opinion and policy decisions on commercial surrogacy in India.

The aim of this thesis is to identify, by means of discourse analysis, how the Times of India (TOI) newspaper reports on commercial surrogacy in India. This critical reading reveals what discourses are produced and how the story about transnational commercial surrogacy is told. A discourse analysis approach was used to examine the Times of India articles published on surrogacy-related issues between January 2013 and December 2014. The analysis suggests that TOI’s news reporting on commercial surrogacy in India both contests as well as reproduces social and political structures of power.



Communication and the arts, Social sciences, Baby boom, Commercial surrogacy, India, Print media