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123 4 The Making of Citizens and Parents In July 2010, consuls general of eight European countries sent letters to over ten Mumbai surrogacy clinics, demanding the clinics’ cooperation in ceasing to cater to their citizens. The letter, endorsed by the consuls general of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the Czech Republic, emphasized the importance of directing nationals from their countries to their respective consulates before beginning the surrogacy process. Moreover, the consuls general asked that clinics immediately comply with their request in order to avoid future legal hassles. Each of these countries prohibits surrogacy and many of their citizens have encountered difficulties in applying for citizenship rights for their children born via gestational surrogacy in India. Many doctors welcomed the letter, asserting that the European consuls ’ general notification is in line with the Indian Council of Medical Research guidelines, which recommend that prospective surrogacy clients obtain a letter of no objection from their own consuls general (Roy 2010a). Other doctors, however, took offense to the letter. One Mumbai obstetrician conveyed her deep dismay at the thought that the dictates of foreign consulates might influence her work as an Indian doctor. When I asked how she would respond to the recent letter, she replied, “Well, I’ll tell them, ‘I am an Indian citizen. I follow Indian law. It allows me to do commercial surrogacy. And I don’t work under you, for you. I’m not Italian, Belgian, French, whatever. So I work under my law and my guidelines.’” These actions—of consular officials seeking to restrict their citizens’ access to surrogacy in India and of doctors intent on offering surrogacy options to foreign clients—demonstrate the ways in which states and institutions become involved in transnational surrogacy, particularly when incompatible legal frameworks intersect. At the time the letter was circulated, there had been growing concern about how to deal with the legal inconsistencies that permeate the international market for sur- 124 | The Making of Citizens and Parents rogacy. Several high profile cases of parents unable to obtain citizenship for their babies born through surrogacy in India drew attention to the plight of “stateless babies” and to the lack of legal certainty around the connections between transnational surrogacy, nationality, kinship, and citizenship.1 Why were these nations intent on restricting access to surrogacy in India for their citizens? What influenced states’ decisions to extend or deny citizenship to children born via surrogacy in India? At the root of these struggles for citizenship are ART consumers’, providers’, and state bureaucracies’ conflicting ideas about race, kinship, and belonging , which are called into question in the context of the globalization of ARTs. Reproductive travelers seeking surrogacy arrangements overseas have challenged the once taken for granted correspondence between citizenship, nation, and state as new forms of citizenship take on an increasingly transnational character. Within this context, contradictory processes of citizenship—and its connections to notions of national belonging and kinship—complicate ideas about who counts as a mother, father, or parent. Moreover, even though parents and legal bureaucracies rarely mentioned race explicitly, ideas about race played a powerful role in people’s negotiations with the Indian state as well as their own. In other words, the boundaries that delineate who counts as a parent and who qualifies as a citizen are deeply racialized and unstable in the context of transnational reproduction. This chapter examines notions of citizenship and nationality in the context of transnational surrogacy, and how these notions intersect with ideas of race, kinship, and family. What happens when incompatible national legal frameworks collide in India in the process of requesting citizenship? What unfolds when different systems of kinship classification , policies about surrogacy, and practices of assigning citizenship clash—all on Indian soil? Throughout my interviews with couples and individuals who had traveled to India, I was struck by how widely their experiences varied when it came to the process of leaving India and returning home with their newest family members. I became particularly interested in the myriad ways that parents are defined—by states, institutions , and families—and how this connects with ideas and racialized practices around nationhood and citizenship. Much of the literature on the citizenship and nationality issues entangled in transnational surro- The Making of Citizens and Parents | 125 gacy takes a policy or legal perspective (Ergas 2013; Points 2009); however , relatively little work engages an ethnographic approach. In what follows, I foreground the narratives of non-Indian parents of children born through surrogacy in...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781479849574
Related ISBN
9781479804214
MARC Record
OCLC
954220519
Pages
288
Launched on MUSE
2016-12-06
Language
English
Open Access
No
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