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Accepted Paper:

Transnational Surrogacy in Times of Uncertainty and Crisis  
Anika König (Freie Universität Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, I discuss the effects of the Covid pandemic and the recent war in Ukraine on transnational reproduction which is already marked by vulnerability and uncertainty. I suggest that such an investigation has important implications for a better understanding of reproductive justice.

Paper long abstract:

Medically assisted reproduction is almost always marked by some form of disruption as it is this disruption that makes medical intervention necessary in the first place. When, as a result of legal restrictions or prohibitive costs, intended parents need to travel and access fertility treatment in the form of cross-border reproductive care, it becomes even more susceptible to disruption and is often marked by a high degree of uncertainty. One example for such uncertainties and disruptions is the effect the clash of different national legal systems has on transnational surrogacy. As a result of the different ways in which countries award citizenship and parentage, the legal status of children born through surrogacy at the intersection of these different regulations may stay unclear for long periods of time, leaving considerable numbers of these children stateless or regarded as legal orphans until a solution is found. This not only affects the children themselves, but also the surrogates who carried them as well as the commissioning parents.

The Covid pandemic with its global travel restrictions or the recent war in Ukraine have vividly shown that such vulnerabilities and uncertainties increase considerably in times of crisis. In this paper, I take the example of transnational surrogacy to discuss the effects these two recent crises had and continue to have on transnational reproduction, on the persons involved in such arrangements, and the implications our understanding of these uncertainties has for an anthropological understanding of reproductive justice.

Panel P184
Un/Doing reproduction: transnational reproductive justice in times of (post-)pandemics and anti-gender campaigns
  Session 1