Kalindi Vora investigates relationships between gestational surrogates and commissioning parents as part of a larger discussion of the ethics of increasingly globalized assisted reproductive technologies in “Biopolitics of Trust in the Technosphere: A Look at Surrogacy, Labor, and Family,” published in the latest issue of Technosphere magazine.
As formerly localized processes of care and service work extend globally in their distribution, what challenge does this pose to national ideals of family and household economy? What new possibilities for communities of care might arise from this challenge?
In her analysis, Vora builds upon feminist and queer scholarship on domestic structures of trust and care labor to provide a critical context for discussion of gendered contractual labor in both the nuclear family and globalized service economies. As the national welfare state has retracted since the 1980s in the former colonial metropoles, privileged households have responded by outsourcing domestic labor, including the work of gestation and childbirth, to the formerly colonized world.
Vora draws on fieldwork she performed at an Indian assisted reproductive technology clinic in the research for her book Life Support: Biocapitalism and the New History of Outsourced Labor. The contrast in perspectives on economic patronage Vora observed between commissioning parents who hire low-wage Indian women to become gestational carriers and the carriers themselves speaks to the challenges that the global distribution of care and service work poses to outdated national ideals of work, family and reproduction.
What new structures of trust and security are required by the outsourcing of care and the retraction of the national welfare state? Read the article to learn more.