CHIARA GOIA, The Secret Circle: Untold Stories of Surrogate Motherhood in India

IPA Photography, PROJECTS 4 Comments

The information we get about surrogacy motherhood in India is very fragmented and most times focused on the side of foreign parents who travel in seek of a uterus to carry their baby for 9 months.

Surrogate mothers, on the other hand, are always marginal figures in the tales of surrogacy and they never really have the chance to speak freely, or to show where and how they live.

In India surrogacy motherhood is a multi-billion dollar business layered with agents and middlemen who find and manage women that would suit basic requirements: married, with at least one child of their own, not older than 30, generally healthy. The final recruits not always meet all the requirements.

These women are then taken through a process sprinkled with delicate as much as unregulated phases. From the signing of their contracts to hormone injections; from taking care of their general health to see the babies they deliver.

Sometimes these women can earn enough money to buy a small room in a slum. Sometimes it takes a couple of pregnancies to start a lease and to provide for their often numerous families.

This work has been created along with the writer and researcher Abby Rabinowitz, between 2012 and 2013. In the outskirt of Mumbai, we followed a group of surrogate mothers, a “secret circle” that grows by word of mouth; women that have to keep their activity undisclosed within their own communities and sometimes within parts of their own families.

Location: India | Photographer: Chiara Goia | Website:

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