Stiftelsen för forskning inom områden med anknytning till Östersjöregionen och Östeuropa

Reproducing (In)Justice: Towards a theory of relational reproductive justice of surrogacy in Baltic, Central and Eastern Europe.


Ämne: Etnologi
Projektledare: Jenny Gunnarsson Payne
Startår: 2018

This project is the first to comprehensively investigate national and transnational surrogacy in Baltic, Central and Eastern Europe (BCEE). By combining rigorous qualitative methods with empirically informed formulation of theory, it offers innovative contributions to existing feminist-and bioethical accounts of reproductive rights and reproductive justice. The project covers national case studies of the three EU countries Latvia, Poland, Sweden, as well as transnational surrogacy to Georgia and Ukraine that are both emerging as main destinations for surrogacy-related fertility travel.1) Empirically, the project will analyze and compare existing practices, legislation, policy and debates concerning gestational and other forms of surrogacy in the BCEE; contributing with contextually specific knowledge about current national policy and media debates, as well as the mapping of existing practices within and between the countries.2) Theoretically, the project seeks to develop a more nuanced concept of reproductive justice, acknowledging the relational nature of privilege and vulnerability, inclusion and exclusion, and, empowerment and exploitation in surrogacy arrangements. Thereby, it will both problematize existing bioethical and feminist conceptualizations of reproductive justice, and develop an innovative theoretical framework of relational reproductive justice, of relevance within as well as beyond the specific context of BCEE.There is an urgent need to fill in the existing knowledge gap about European surrogacy. Considering that several countries in BCEE are already popular destinations for fertility travel it is very likely that more countries in the region will follow Ukraine and Georgia and begin offering surrogacy services to transnational patients. Neither of the three EU-countries has yet got any fully developed legislation on surrogacy and this project would thus offer a better knowledge base for medical ethical debates as well as for policy makers and politicians in making decisions on surrogacy within and across European borders. Considering the scarcity of research on surrogacy in BCEE, this project will offer substantial empirical and theoretical contributions to humanities and social science research of global uses of ARTs. Of particular importance to gender, feminist and bioethics scholarship is the project’s empirically informed theorization of an intersectional approach to relational reproductive justice in light of European experience.