Gestational Labors: Care Politics and Surrogates’ Struggle
In this chapter, Sophie Lewis discusses the burgeoning industry of commercial surrogate gestation, with reference to Baby Gammy. Lewis shows that we are reluctant to countenance unity between the politics of surrogates and other, paid or unpaid, reproducers. Contesting this tendency makes it possible to theorize surrogacy politics as continuous with wider anti-racist and care politics that reinvent family. The Gammy case usefully demonstrates the necessity of allying the common interests of surrogate workers with others implicated in such struggles over social reproduction. The challenge, then, for an anti-capitalist surrogacy politics, is to seek to take the utopian promises of ‘assisted’ reproduction seriously without falling into the trap of abstracting reproduction from other social relations, as do technophobic feminisms, or infertility framings, concerned with ‘life itself’.
KeywordsSurrogacy Gestational surrogacy Wages for housework Politics of reproduction Reproductive technology Gammy
- Alaimo, Stacy. 2010. Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self.Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
- Anderson, Elizabeth. 1990. “Is Women’s Labor a Commodity?” Philosophy & Public Affairs 17(1): 71–92.Google Scholar
- Banerjee, Amrita. 2014. Race and a Transnational Reproductive Caste System: Indian Transnational Surrogacy. Hypatia 29(1): 113–128.Google Scholar
- Ekman, Kajsa. 2013. Being and Being Bought: Prostitution, Surrogacy and the Split Self.Melbourne: Spinifex Press.Google Scholar
- Federici, Silvia. 1975. Wages For Housework, Wages For Housework Committee (1975).Google Scholar
- ———. 2004. Caliban and the Witch. New York: Autonomedia.Google Scholar
- Gusmaroli, Danielle. 2015. Thai Surrogate Tells How Baby Gammy’s White Skin Makes Him Stand Out and Neighbors Call Him “Farang” (Foreigner). The Daily Mail Australia, January 8. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2932144/I-tell-s-albino-don-t-repeat-painful-drama-Thai-surrogate-tells-baby-Gammy-s-white-complexion-makes-stand-neighbours-call-farang-foreigner.html.
- Haraway, Donna J. 1991. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- ———. 2011. Speculative Fabulations for Technoculture’s Generations. Australian Humanities Review 50: 95–118.Google Scholar
- Hawley, Samantha. 2014. Baby Gammy Story Takes Startling Turn as Extreme Options Revealed. Australian Broadcasting Corporation, August 17. http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2014/s4089822.htm.
- Holmes, Oliver. 2015. Gay Parents Fight to Leave Thailand with Surrogate Baby Daughter. The Guardian, July 20. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/20/gay-parents-fight-to-leave-thailand-with-surrogate-baby-daughter.
- Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) http://icmr.nic.in, accessed 2015-03-14.Google Scholar
- Lewis, Sophie. 2015. Book Review: Luc Boltanski, Transl. Catherine Porter, The Foetal Condition: A Sociology of Engendering and Abortion. Feminism & Psychology 25(4): 1–5.Google Scholar
- ———. 2016. The Doyenne of Surrogacy on TV: Dr Patel’s Mediations of Contract Pregnancy’s Uneven Geographies.Google Scholar
- Marks, Kathy. 2015. Baby Gammy: Australian Father Who Abandoned Down Syndrome Surrogate Child Now Tries to Access Funds Donated for His Care. The Independent, May 20. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/baby-gammy-australian-father-who-abandoned-down-syndrome-surrogate-child-now-tries-to-access-funds-donated-for-his-care-10261916.html.
- Michael, Sarah. 2015. Inside the Life of the Birth Mum. The Daily Mail, August 8. www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2718974/Inside-life-Gammys-birth-mother-surrogacy-row.html.
- Mies, Maria, and Vandana Shiva. 1993. People or Population: Towards a New Ecology of Reproduction. In Ecofeminism, ed. Maria Mies, and Vandana Shiva. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
- Murdoch, Lindsay. 2014. Australian Couple Leaves Down Syndrome Baby With Thai Surrogate. Sydney Morning Herald, August 1. http://www.smh.com.au/national/australian-couple-leaves-down-syndrome-baby-with-thai-surrogate-20140731-zz3xp.html.
- O’Brien, Mary. 1981. The Politics of Reproduction. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
- Parry, Bronwyn. 2015. Narratives of Neoliberalism: “Clinical Labor” in Context. Medical Humanities 41: 31–37.Google Scholar
- Ragoné, Helena. 2003. The Gift of Life. In Surrogate Motherhood : International Perspectives, ed. Rachel Cook, and Shelley Day Sclater, 209–226. Oxford: Hart Publishing.Google Scholar
- Rawlinson, Kevin. 2014. Interpol investigates “baby factory” as man fathers 16 surrogate children. The Guardian, 23rd August. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/aug/23/interpol-japanese-baby-factory-man-fathered-16-children.Google Scholar
- Rose, Nikolas. 2007. Politics of Life Itself Biomedicine, Power, and Subjectivity in the Twenty-First Century. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Stormer, Nathan. 2008. Looking in Wonder: Prenatal Sublimity and the Commonplace “Life”. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 33(3): 647–473.Google Scholar
- Strathern, Marilyn. 1992. Reproducing the Future: Essays on Anthropology, Kinship and the New Reproductive Technologies. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar