Towards Humanitarian Assisted Conception

  • Sheela Saravanan


Roberts (Signs 34:783–804, 2009) notes reproductive liberty must encompass not merely the individual women’s choice about how and when to have a child and to end her pregnancy, but should also include social justice. The notion of liberty allows an individual to choose procreation for oneself but without causing any harm to others and also includes freedom of choice in abortion (Bolton in United States Reports 179, 1973). The same logic when applied to surrogacy involves an inherent tampering of another person’s reproductive right to abortion and parenthood impacting their health and well-being. Yet when it comes to surrogacy, liberals have demanded for evidence that the practice devalues individual reproductive rights. Several scholars have noted that individual reproductive rights come along with responsibilities towards a just and humane society. One way forward is to examine the humanitarian reproductive thresholds based on social justice. Drawing on intersectionality, the aim in examining humanitarian thresholds is to identify the humane responsibilities and threshold that may be crossed in asserting individual reproductive desire for children through surrogacy. I will discuss the two questions that I raised in the previous chapter; as humans can we normalize gamete picking and surrogate choosing that reify social prejudices, and can we normalize surrogacy as any other work? I begin with defining humanitarian threshold.


Human rights Intersectionality Geneticization Surrogacy as work Humanitarian conception 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology, South Asia InstituteHeidelberg UniversityHeidelbergGermany

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