‘Baby farm’ Anand to show in surrogacy shy Sweden

A Swedish theatre group — Global Stories — is all set to present ‘stories of surrogacy’ from the ‘milk capital’ of Anand in a theatrical documentation to be staged in Stockholm this October,the irony being,surrogacy is not legal in Sweden.

Written by Lakshmi Ajay | Ahmedabad | Published: April 5, 2012 3:11 am

A Swedish theatre group — Global Stories — is all set to present ‘stories of surrogacy’ from the ‘milk capital’ of Anand in a theatrical documentation to be staged in Stockholm this October,the irony being,surrogacy is not legal in Sweden.

Director Ditte Maria Bjergand and her team have already made two visits in November 2011 and March this year to Anand to meet the surrogate mothers at the Surrogate House in Anand. The play that is part of the group’s ‘Made In India’ collaboration will subsequently tour across Sweden. Incidentally,it has two actors of Indian origin,Amrita Pande and Mia Ray.

The play may be courting controversy with surrogacy as its theme as it is not legal in Sweden whereas Anand that is referred to as the ‘baby farm’ of India has around 500 women who are involved in commercial surrogacy.

“At the moment,there is a political debate taking place (on surrogacy in Sweden),and in 2012,an investigation will be made on surrogacy. This might lead to a change of policy… Our performance will represent different positions and voices. Of the Indian women working as surrogates as well as the voices of the clients,be they Indian or Western,” said director Ditte Maria Bjergand in an email from Sweden.

The surrogate house in Anand currently has around 70 women and offers IVF treatment with surrogacy for Rs 7 lakh to Rs 8 lakh. “The performance will not place itself in the current political debate,but will contribute to the debate. The performance will be based on research,interviews and video material,” added Ditte.

“Ditte’s team has shot intensive video footage of the whole story of surrogacy right from the IVF process to the birth of the children that will be used as research material in the play. Here,they learnt that we also train these women in vocational courses like tailoring,beauty parlour so that they have means of livelihood and do not have to depend on surrogacy,” said gynaecologist Nayna Patel of Kaival Hospital and founder of Anand Surrogate Trust.

“Just so that these women can be an integral part of the play,the team decided to use a big embroidery by each woman as part of the set design in the performance. The women have explored the theme of pregnancy and surrogacy through their embroidery,” said Villoo Mirza,former director of National Institute of Fashion Technology,who will be supervising the handicrafts that the women will be weaving.

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