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Bodily Interventions and Intimate LabourUnderstanding Bioprecarity$
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Gabriele Griffin and Doris Leibetseder

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526138569

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526138576

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Precarious Pregnancies and Precious Products

Precarious Pregnancies and Precious Products

Transnational commercial surrogacy in Thailand

(p.113) 6 Precarious Pregnancies and Precious Products
Bodily Interventions and Intimate Labour

Elina Nilsson

Manchester University Press

This chapter explores the intimate labour performed by surrogate mothers in the globalized fertility market. Using her body and providing her womb and uterus, blood and sweat, the surrogate mother engages in a highly embodied labour (Pande, 2014). At the same time, the non-genetic relation between the foetus and the surrogate is used by clients and clinics to reduce the woman to a ‘gestational carrier’ and a ‘mere vessel’ (Gupta, 2008; Pande, 2010). By drawing on interviews with Thai women enrolled in transnational commercial surrogacy, this chapter highlights the surrogate mothers’ precarious and vulnerable position in a process of cross-cultural biotechnological intervention with inherently differential power relations among the stakeholders.

Keywords:   surrogacy, intimate labour, commercial surrogacy, transnational surrogacy, surrogate mother, Thai surrogates, fertility market

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