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Sociology Research


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

 This research project focuses on surrogacy as an assisted reproduction technique (hence the short title ‘SurrogARTs’). It takes the case of transnational surrogacy carried out by European gay men in the US, as compared to American gay fathers. It looks at the motivations, relationships and experiences of European and American gay men, as well as surrogates, egg donors, and professionals involved in the process in the US.

 How can foreign surrogacy be accepted at home? Who, why and at what costs gets to do it? Do gay men have a right to biological parenthood, and do women have a choice to carry babies for others? What origin stories will the babies be told? How can it be safe and respectful for all involved? – These and other questions about affects, commodities, and national borders are raised by the current circumstances, where the ban on commercial surrogacy in Europe drives some intended parents across the Atlantic. The lens of gestational surrogacy is therefore used in this project so as to explore how reproductive technology, sexuality, gender, family, social class, and nation interact shaping reproductive origin stories and futures.

 The project is led by the postdoctoral fellow Dr Marcin Smietana, and the scientific directors Professor Sarah Franklin at the University of Cambridge and Professor Charis Thompson at UC Berkeley. It was funded by the European Commission as a Marie Curie IOF postdoc fellowship (FP7, Grant Agreement 629341).