In San Antonio, TX, 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 or protection.
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 laughs 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 US, 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 camera.
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 US 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.