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Negotiating ‘Surrogate Mothering’ and Women’s Freedom


Surrogacy is one of the desired reproductive technologies for family formation, yet surrogate mothers are subjected to unethical treatments and unbalanced power relations in India. Such treatment obscures women’s free decision-making and can be detrimental to their maternal self. Recently, the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, has received the President’s approval to regulate surrogacy practices by limiting them for the altruistic motives which have again provoked the burning debates regarding reproductive technologies, women’s emancipation and procreative labour. The paper thus explores women’s agency, maternal freedom and surrogate arrangements in Indian society. The complexity of the implementation of the law, vulnerability of surrogate labour, woman’s bodily autonomy and reproductive choices have been analysed. This has been done through comprehensive feminist discussions on motherhood experience in terms of enforced vs. voluntary to find the way to protect women’s freedom and subjectivity in the task of ‘mothering as empowerment’.

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Correspondence to Zairu Nisha.

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Nisha, Z. Negotiating ‘Surrogate Mothering’ and Women’s Freedom. ABR 14, 271–285 (2022).

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  • Agency
  • Choice
  • Coercion
  • Feminist theory
  • Motherhood
  • Surrogacy