THE CONTACT PREGNANCY
The contract pregnancy is an installation that offers transparency in the commercial surrogacy market from the surrogate's perspective.
The commercial surrogacy market is a billion dollar market making use of women to be a surrogate for intended parents. The market promotes itself online and offers complete surrogacy programs from $30.000 up to $100.000. Less then half of that money ends up in the hands of the surrogate while she plays the biggest part in the process.
There are many risks involved for the surrogate such as ovarion torsion, premature menopause, loss of fertility, reproductive cancers, depression and much more. These risks are not implemented in the contract that is signed prior to the surrogacy pregnancy and therefore it doesn't give intended parents a good insight on what they are signing up for.
Intended parents are promissed to start a wonderful process while subconciously contributing to possible exploitation of the surrogate. Transparency is essential within this market but surrogates are kept from sharing their experiences to protect the image of the commercial surrogacy market.
This installation shows the truth behind commercial surrogacy by sharing the experiences from Georgian surrogates implemented into a contract from the Georgian clinic "New Life" (a global network of surrogacy clinics).
The installation replicates the moment when intended parents are asked to sign the contract. Instead of sitting in front of someone from the surrogacy clinic they sit down in front of a sculpture representing the anonymous surrogates. The sculpture is holding the contract confronting the viewer with the completed contract. The length of the contract, the amount of information and the stories written on it overwhelm the viewer and shows that there is more to the process then you would think at first. The viewer is asked at the bottom of the contract to sign if they agree on all risks, all terms and if they would consider commercial surrogacy. This is part of the experiment to test if the wish of having a child would be worth taking the risks that could come with the commercial surrogacy process.
The installation shows an anonymous pregnant surrogate holding a complete surrogacy contract. The life size sculpture is made out of metal thread, soldered together, giving the body an artificial, machine-like look. Which refers to the way the market treats surrogates. The structure is fragile referring to the position of the surrogate before, during and after the surrogacy process.
The contract is a replica of the real contract. The emotions from the surrogates and their stories are shown through color and style making it look like a protest against the contract..