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    Still from Made in India: A Film about Surrogacy (Haimowitz and Sinha, 2010). Used with permission from Women Make Movies.


  issue 4.1 |  

Journal Issue 4.1
Spring-Summer 2012
Edited by Agatha Beins, Jillian Hernandez, and Deanna Utroske
Editorial Assistant: A.J. Barks
Editorial Intern: Vera Hinsey


Made in India: A Film about Surrogacy. Directed by Rebecca Haimowitz and Vaishali Sinha. New York: Women Make Movies, 2010. 97 minutes.

Reviewed by Amrita Pande

The film Made in India focuses on the booming international surrogacy business in India. By following the journey of a white, middle-class couple from the United States to a fertility clinic in India, the film highlights some critical legal, ethical, and structural implications of this new form of reproductive travel. The film consists of interviews with the different actors involved in the surrogacy transaction--the intending parents from the United States, doctors in India, a third party facilitator of medical travel, and an Indian surrogate--as well as testimonies of Indian government representatives and women rights' activists. The interviews are interspersed with footage from the lives of the intending parents and their surrogate. The strength of the film lies in its ability to compile the different perspectives and in its nuanced portrayal of the emotional and bodily impact of surrogacy on the intending parents. The cinematography is flawless and respects the anonymity of surrogates skillfully. But the seemingly unmediated access to the daily lives of women is both the film's strength and its weakness. It leaves some critical questions about the bodily integrity of the surrogates unasked and hence unanswered. The film merely glosses over the impact of the hypermedicalization of reproduction (regular ultrasounds, injections, and medicines as well as the high likelihood of multiple births and caesarean-section deliveries) on the surrogates. It pays little attention to the high surveillance of surrogates within the surrogacy homes and restrictions on their autonomy. On the whole, however, this film provides a sensitive portrayal of a morally contentious issue usually dealt with in sensationalist ways by mainstream media.

Amrita Pande ( is a lecturer in the Sociology department at University of Cape Town. Her research primarily focuses on gendered bodies, gendered work spaces, and new forms of social movements. Her work has appeared in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Gender and Society, Qualitative Sociology, Feminist Studies, Indian Journal of Gender Studies, Reproductive Biomedicine and in several edited volumes.


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