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Assisted reproduction beyond the nation state and nuclear family? Transition to parenthood and negotiating relatedness in gay father families created through transnational surrogacy


The project aims to examine the experiences, meanings and practices of negotiating relatedness in European gay father families created through surrogacy and egg donation in the UK and, transnationally, in the US. The study of the under-researched and developing phenomenon of surrogacy seeks to identify how reproduction or subversion of mainstream family models by Assisted Reproduction Techniques (ARTs) is shaped by four factors: (a) genetic links between parents and children, (b) participation of more than two parents in the conception of the child, (c) intersected gender and sexuality of the parents, (d) social determinants such as class, race, nationality and bio-political institutions in the transnational context. The comparative framework of the US- and UK-based fieldwork enables comparison between the former free market of ARTs and the latter more regulated one.
The theoretical relevance of the project lies in its objective to assess the implications of the current evolution of procreation and care relationships by evaluating the adequacy of the couple logic as opposed to networked-individual approaches. It thus responds, too, to the criticisms of closed adoption or donor anonymity within the framework of the debate on child commodification vs. the inclusion of minority families.
The socially relevant and policy-related mobility problems of national register of children born through transnational and transcontinental reproductive tourism are tackled with a view to contributing to the debate on the possibility of a European framework for assisted reproduction.
The candidate researcher’s training comprises the development of interdisciplinary methodology of sociological research that incorporates contemporary ethnographic approaches and thus better enables investigation into sensitive issues of intimate life. The skills transference envisages the candidate’s overall contribution into the development of the social study of reproduction at the return host centre.

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Trinity Lane The Old Schools
CB2 1TN Cambridge
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 239 282,70
Administrative Contact
Renata Schaeffer (Ms.)