, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 266–278 | Cite as

Indian transnational surrogacy and the commodification of vital energy

  • Kalindi Vora
Original Article


Assisted reproductive technologies allow women to sell the service of gestating a fetus, but maintain little or no claim to the product of that labor: the child itself. In the context of transnational Indian surrogacy, this situation is exacerbated by the physical and cultural distance between intended parents and surrogates. The productive nature of the care and nurturing provided through the work of mothering becomes more visible when viewed though the commodification of commercial surrogacy. Once commodified, this work of care also becomes subject to the alienation of capitalist relations, which invites us to investigate the social and economic implications of the work of mothering in surrogacy. I argue that care and nurture in transnational Indian surrogacy invest human vital energy as a form of value directly into other human beings, through the biological and affective labor involved in surrogate work, thereby supporting the lives of those individuals, families and societies that consume this energy.


reproductive technologies surrogacy affective labor biocapital India 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kalindi Vora
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ethnic StudiesUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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