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Accepted Paper:

The 'moral economy' of illegality and biological citizenship in Germany: German parents using gestational surrogacy services in Ukraine  
Daniela Heil (University of Newcastle)

Paper short abstract:

Presented from the perspectives of German parents using gestational surrogacy services in Ukraine for the procreation and delivery of their biological children, the ambivalence of the ‘moral economy’ of illegality and biological citizenship in Germany will be examined.

Paper long abstract:

In Germany, the domestic prohibition for surrogacy continues to persist. Thus, over the last 15 years, Ukraine has often become a last bastion of hope for heterosexual German couples that want to have children, but are unable to do so the natural way. Both extra-corporal insemination services and gestational surrogacy are cheaper in Ukraine than in many other countries, and these assisted reproductive technologies are considered legal as well. Drawing on ethnographic examples that illustrate the perspectives of heterosexual German couples that have been using gestational surrogacy services in Ukraine to have their biological children, the paper critically explores the ambivalence of the 'moral economy' that addresses the illegality of the procedure and the biological citizenship of the children in Germany. The purpose of the analysis is to unveil the principle of contemporary states when it comes to the moral evaluation of difference. I will demonstrate that this evaluation is anything but indifferent. Not only is it full of norms, desires, emotions and stereotypes of all of those engaged in each of the different examples, but it also comprises the transnational legalisation of the biological children (delivered with the help of Ukrainian gestational surrogates) into German citizens throughout the process. This moral economy defines the scope of contemporary biopolitics in terms of politics that deal with the lives of the newborn children and the legitimisation of the latters citizenship rights in the name of biology.

Panel P058
Rethinking the concept of moral economy: anthropological perspectives
  Session 1