Well, this is an interesting trailer! Ripped from the headlines of like 5 years ago, but still a story I am surprised to see onscreen.
Surrogacy! The complicated part of it is, carrying a child through pregnancy creates a bond between womb-owner and child. Ideally, everyone is aware of this complexity going in and talks through all possible situations and agrees on next steps. In many places in the west, this is what surrogacy is now. There are generalized laws to protect all parties, and a standard legal agreement everyone signs. There are essentially two nightmare scenarios. The first is that the surrogate falls in love with the child in her womb and does not want to give it to the biological parents. The second is that the biological parents change their minds partway through the pregnancy.
If there are legal protections in place, the standard is that the surrogate has the option of changing her mind at any point and raising the baby herself. Yes, this is horrible for the biological parents, but they have to go into it knowing this is a possibility. This is also why most surrogates are already biological mothers to one or more children. They know their body and what it feels like to be pregnant, they have a better sense of what it will mean to give birth and then not take the child home. And they have a better sense of the trauma/not trauma pregnancy and birth will bring on them.
I know a couple who had a surrogate baby, two men, who really wanted to be fathers and were from a tiny country where the idea of two Dads was unheard of. Their best chance was, while they were working in America for a few years, to have a baby by surrogate. They found a wonderful woman in California, one of the states with the best strict legal protections around surrogacy. She had already been a surrogate for another couple and had two children of her own. She was inseminated, got pregnant right away, sent them photos of the ultrasounds, called them once she went into labor, they took the baby home from the hospital and have brought the baby back to visit her a few times when they were in America. It went smooth as silk, but only because everyone involved went into it with clear open eyes about all possible outcomes and full legal protections.
The other nightmare scenario is that the parents will change their minds. That’s where the firm legal protections come into play. And also the maturity of the surrogate. The couple I knew, there was no way they would not be taking home this baby. They were mature, they had been together for years, they had nieces and nephews back home, they knew what parenting was, and this was their only shot. This was their baby, no question. And I am sure a mature older woman who had already been a surrogate once could see that just by meeting them. But even if somehow her instincts were wrong, there were legal protections in place. This was THEIR baby. After she gave birth, it was their responsibility just as much as if they were traditional biological parents.
Now, all of this is in places where surrogacy has been around for a while and the laws have caught up to it. All these laws and protections also mean a lot of messy waiting and time passing and stuff. You have to find a surrogate, you have to get all the papers signed, you have to know that the surrogate has the right to keep the baby after birth and run that risk. For the parents, there is a temptation to just get around all of this. Find a foolish powerless young woman, convince her to be a surrogate without fully understanding what that means, and then take the baby after birth without letting her know she had the option of keeping it. You can have a baby in 9 months, no waiting, no worries, almost no money.
Thus, India’s stringent surrogacy laws. Which are a new thing after a lot of horrible situations. India is a great place to find young powerless woman who will agree to carry someone else’s child for almost nothing, and won’t cause a fuss if you back out of the agreement/they decide they would rather keep the child after birth. I hate this, I hate this so much. I hate it even more because I know the “good” side of surrogacy. Why would you want to bring a child into this world with so much pain and unhappiness behind it? Why wouldn’t you do everything you could to ensure a fair and just and happy beginning to their life? India also has stringent adoption laws for the same reason, and I feel the same way about it. This is your CHILD. You can’t take a little bit more time and a little bit more money to make sure the start of your life as a family is clean and clear and fair to all involved?
And now, this movie!!!! Which is dealing with the dirty side of surrogacy tourism. A perfect rich white couple sees a pretty young woman and arranges with a broker to hire her as their surrogate. The broker and his female partner have a whole routine arranged for getting the woman away, through pregnancy, and so on. And then the white tourist couple casually change their mind, leaving this young woman trapped with a pregnancy.
Couple of things that bother me just based on the trailer. The first is that this young woman seems to be in a far better situation than real life surrogates might be. Loving family, well-brought up, educated, etc. She doesn’t need the money to live, basically.
Second is that the broker and his partner are seemingly innocent and kind of nice. In a vacuum, I wouldn’t mind that. But in context of the whole series of films that refuse to blame India and Indians for their own problems, it BUGS me!!!! These young surrogate woman are part of a whole system. Often their own families are the ones pressuring them into it because they want the money, and the Indian brokers are cruel in forcing them through the process. But in this movie, NOPE! White people are selfish and rich and uncaring, teenage girl is a little bit frivolous and unthinking, broker is just kind of funny and there. Nothing to see here, no massive systemic issues, just the white people shaking things up.
Okay, I have massively (and unfairly) over thought this movie based on the trailer alone. Now, you watch it and tell me what you think!