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Merit Making, Money and Motherhood: Women's Experiences of Commercial Surrogacy in Thailand
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores transnational commercial surrogacy in the context of Thailand, with the specific purpose to examine Thai women’s motives and experiences of being a surrogate mother. The study is based on two months of fieldwork in Bangkok between June and August 2014 during which interviews were conducted with eleven former, current or future surrogate mothers. The analysis take a postcolonial feminist approach, and draw upon theory of motherhood, intimate labor and stratified reproduction. The study shows how the women’s account of why they want to become a surrogate mother is influenced by contemporary cultural and moral values regarding motherhood and womanhood. By being a surrogate mother they live up to the ideal role of the nurturing mother and the dutiful daughter. Furthermore, the women’s experiences of the pregnancy and their position in the arrangement is characterized by worry, uncertainty, and mistrust. This is partly due to how their rights and opinions are deemed less significant than those of the intended parents. The women are also severely limited in their say over various aspects of the pregnancy. Even though the surrogate mothers have made conscious decisions without being persuaded by family or friends, the study shows that they are still in an exposed position within an arrangement that is characterized by uneven power relations. This is further shown by locating the surrogate mothers’ stories and experiences in relation to other stakeholders and within the larger context of commercial surrogacy in Thailand, as well as on a global level. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 81 p.
Keyword [en]
transnational commercial surrogacy, Thailand, motherhood, intimate labor, stratified reproduction
Keyword [sv]
surrogatmödraskap, Thailand, moderskap, intimt arbete, stratifierad reproduktion
National Category
Other Humanities
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-254950OAI: diva2:820404
2015-06-04, Centrum för genusvetenskap 13:11, Kv Botaniska trädgården, Centrum för genusvetenskap, Villavägen 6, Uppsala, 11:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2015-09-01 Created: 2015-06-12 Last updated: 2015-09-01Bibliographically approved

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