In San Antonio, Texas, Lisa and Brian Switzer sell their house and risk
their savings on a Medical Tourism company that has promised them an
affordable solution after 7 years of infertility. Across the world in
Mumbai, India, Aasia Khan puts on a burka—not for religious
reasons—but to hide her identity from neighbors as she enters a fertility clinic
to be implanted with this American couple's embryos.
These are the scenes that unfold as we watch East meet West in
suburbs and shanty-towns, in test tubes and Petri dishes, in surrogates
and infertile couples.
"Reproductive Tourism" has become a booming trade, valued at more
than $450 million in India, and it's growing rapidly. Infertile couples
in the U.S. pay up to $100,000 for a domestic surrogacy, but they can
pay for the same in India for roughly $25,000 (this includes clinic
charges, lawyer's bills, travel and lodging, and the surrogate's fee).
But this growth is occurring within a complete legal vacuum: currently,
there are no actual laws on surrogacy in India—only suggested
guidelines. And yet the practice continues to expand without regulation
Made in India is the first feature documentary to show the personal
stories of the real people involved—following their journeys
throughout the entire surrogacy process.
Aasia is a 27-year-old mother of 3 who lives in a one-room house in a
slum in Mumbai. She laughed with disbelief when she first heard of
surrogacy. "A child without a man?! How can that be? There has to be
some kind of a ... 'relationship,' right?!" Aasia's decision to become a
surrogate—to do so without her husband's consent even—debunks any
simplistic characterization of her as an exploited victim.
Lisa & Brian see themselves as fighters: "In the U.S., if you're
struggling to have a child, you have to be a lawyer or a doctor to
afford this. It's not fair." They believe hiring an Indian surrogate is
their only chance to have a child of their own, and they are sure that
they will help Aasia just as she helps them. But when facing accusations
of exploitation, Lisa and Brian must defend their choices. "Walk a mile
in my shoes before you judge me," Lisa commands, staring into the
As Aasia and the Switzers' stories grow increasingly tied
together—the bigger picture behind the globalization of the Reproductive Industry
begins to unfold—revealing questions of citizenship, human rights,
global corporate practices, choice, reproductive rights, commodification
of the body, legal accountability and notions of motherhood.
Throughout the film, scenes of America and India are juxtaposed,
charting out the obstacles faced by the U.S. couple, and giving an
intimate understanding of the surrogate's life story and motivations.
Made in India explores the impact of the decisions of one person over
the other. This film reveals the legal and ethical implications behind
their choices, and presents the conflict between the personal and the
political dilemmas of international surrogacy.