Social Theory & Health

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 40–56 | Cite as

Surrogates as risk or surrogates at risk? The contradictory constitution of surrogates’ bodies in transnational surrogacy

  • Kristin LozanskiEmail author
  • Irene Shankar
Original Article


When parents who cannot carry their own fetus to term travel to another country to pay a surrogate to carry their child to term, they encounter myriad structural risks. However, given that such risks exist beyond the control of individuals, intended parents and those who work in the surrogacy industry focus their attention instead on surrogates’ bodies and behavior as a means to manage potential risk. Using primary and secondary data from Ukraine and Mexico, we trace the ways in which expectations of risk and acceptable risk management practices are transposed onto the global South: the surrogate and her body become the site upon which expert intervention is concentrated in order to manage risk. This discursive move both renders the risks borne by the surrogate invisible and conceals the structural marginalization of surrogates upon which transnational surrogacy is dependent.


Surrogacy Risk Gender Pregnancy Surveillance Globalization 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyKing’s University College at UWOLondonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Sociology & AnthropologyMount Royal UniversityCalgaryCanada

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