Biotechnology, Biocommerce, and Body Commodification
Part II explores state-sponsored guidelines and laws defining and regulating
reproductive technologies and their local interpretations and (re)inventions.
Global advances in reproductive technologies and state responses to them in
the form of legal and ethical guidelines are transforming widely shared
notions of kinship at the local level. These reassessments of how to define
family bonds are informed by social and culturally specific constructs of
the person, kinship, and descent. Each of the three chapters in part II
explores local interpretations of how authentic children are to be produced
and accounted for and how recent advances in reproductive technologies
have challenged conventional understandings of what constitutes an appro-
priate family.
In ‘‘Reproductive Viability and the State: Embryonic Stem Cell Research
in India,’’ Aditya Bharadwaj explores how infertile couples seeking to ame-
liorate the associated stigma may become complicit, albeit poorly informed
agents, in the search by India’s biotechnology industry to obtain legal em-
bryos for stem cell research. Bharadwaj shows that informed consent is not
a major concern for many of the doctors who aid infertile couples with
in vitro fertilization (ivf) treatment. This in part is because under Indian
governmental guidelines, embryos cannot be harvested solely for research
purposes, so doctors encourage infertile couples to donate their extra, un-
needed embryos produced through ivf as a ‘‘gift’’ to science. Bharadwaj
shows how Indian infertility specialists, infertile patients, and their govern-
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