Renting Wombs and the Division of Labor


Americans and Europeans are outsourcing pregnancy to India:

Driven by many of the same factors that have led Western businesses to outsource some of their operations to India in recent years, an increasing number of infertile couples from abroad are coming here in search of women…who are willing, in effect, to rent out their wombs.

The trend is evident to doctors such as Indira Hinduja, perhaps India's most prominent fertility specialist, who receives an inquiry from overseas every other week. It can also be detected on the Internet, where a young Indian woman recently posted an ad on a help-wanted website offering to carry a child for an expatriate Indian couple.

The L.A. Times article implies that demand is coming from womb bargain-hunters, since Indian surrogates clearly come cheaper than American ones. But demand from Europe and Australia must be at least partly attributable to restrictive laws that have lessened (or eliminated) the domestic supply. (In many countries, surrogacy is illegal, and in others, the option is only available to infertile married women.) European restrictions on sperm and egg donations have spawned a transnational trade in DNA; it seems likely that the same applies here.

Buy a pair of "lucky conception" socks from here.

Hat tip: Yglesias.