142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Examination of the Motivations, Supports, and Stigma Experienced by Gestational Surrogates in Gujarat, India

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 12:50 PM - 1:10 PM

Sharvari Karandikar, MSW, Ph.D. , College of Social Work, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Lindsay Gezinski, PhD. , Social Work, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
James Carter, MPH , College of Social Work, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Marissa Kaloga, MSW , College of Social Work, The Ohio State University, College of Social Work, Columbus, OH
India is emerging as a top destination for transnational gestational surrogacy. Intended parents from all across the world seek services from infertility experts in India and opt for Indian surrogates for more affordable services. This study explored the motivations and experiences of Indian women who become surrogate mothers for transnational couples. In-depth interviews were conducted with 16 surrogate mothers from a fertility clinic in India. Two  themes emerged from the data: 1) Motivations for becoming surrogates and 2) Experiences of surrogate mothers pertaining to stigma during and after pregnancy. The majority of the participants were illiterate women between the ages of 21 and 30 who had been a surrogate an average of three times. The primary motivation was financial. Participants mentioned discrepancies in receiving payments from the intended parent(s) and were unclear about contracts that were signed between the doctors and the intended parent(s). Women also reported being dissatisfied by the payments made to them, forcing them to become surrogates multiple times. The majority of the participants compared surrogacy to prostitution, describing surrogacy as clean and pure in comparison. Experiences of surrogate mothers revolved around hiding surrogate status from community by living in surrogate hostels. Additionally surrogates reported stigma from extended family members and community forcing them to relocate after surrogacy. This study recommends need for counseling and psycho-social support services to women interested in surrogacy, as well as a stringent law to protect the rights of surrogates. Finally, provisions for long-term health care benefits to surrogates should be made.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Define and explain the concept of Medical Tourism and its impact on women's health Discuss motivations, supports and stigma of surrogate mothers in India

Keyword(s): Reproductive Health, Prenatal Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Sharvari Karandikar began her career practicing as a social worker for sex workers and victims of sex trafficking in Mumbai, India. At the Ohio State University, she has focused her research efforts on female sex workers and victims of sex trafficking particularly on gender-based violence, health and mental health issues. Dr. Karandikarís current research relates to sex work and sex trafficking in Asia, egg donation, international gestational surrogacy, medical tourism and its impact on women.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.