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Book Review: Discounted Life - The Price of Global Surrogacy in India

by Ėlo LuikBioNews
June 20th, 2016

Two parents walking with a child a few feet in front of them as the sun is setting. The people's bodies are cast in shadow and look like black outlines.

Discounted Life is compassionate, critical and somehow as heart-warming as it is heart-breaking. Most of all it is an utterly captivating look into the lives of the women who made the production line of India's surrogacy industry at a time when it was still legal and booming. Sharmila Rudrappa takes us into the socially and economically precarious worlds of the garment-factory workers in urban Bangalore who also constitute the recruiting ground for a lucrative global business turning poverty in India into babies for the West.

Rudrappa's long fieldwork and Indian heritage allowed her to get a close look at the lives of surrogate women beyond the clinic and the surrogate hostel. She traced their steps through the winding streets of overcrowded urban neighbourhoods, sat on their floors for dinner and coffee, and became a part of the networks of friendship and obligation that sustain surrogacy in Bangalore. As a result, desperate and destitute women are replaced in the book with real-life characters hustling to make a life for themselves in an uncertain world, engaged in an industry that is set to reduce them to reproductive bodies.

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Image via Pixabay



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