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Why Do Indian Surrogate Mothers Still Remain in Poverty?
  • Chen Kuan-Ju
Chen Kuan-Ju
The London School of Economics and Political Science

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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After the release of new Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill in 2020, surrogate mothers in India showed greater concerns over the rights to their bodies. Despite receiving economic compensation from the intending parents, surrogates have failed to convert their income into greater well-beingness. In understanding what Sen (1999) claimed as Capability Poverty, the research investigated the concept through a dynamic interaction analysis of Bourdieu (1984)’s Capital formation throughout the contracted pregnancy, contributing to the surrogacy literature a novel ground in depicting a more dynamic capital formation. The inconvertibility of economic capital for social, cultural, and emotional capital proved a continued suffering for surrogates, including both physical exploitations due to oppressive medical settings and psychological burdens from stigmatisation (re)produced from the traditional values and geographies of class. In debating over whether surrogates possess actual ability to exercise their agency over structure, it is essential that this research reminds once again their choices over work are not made in isolation from socioeconomic and cultural factors.