Global Fertility Chains: a feminist political economy of outsourced reproduction from Israel to Ukraine and Georgia

01 November 2019 → 31 October 2022
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
political economy reproductive bio-economy surrogacy egg donation reproductive labour commodity chains Israel Palestine Georgia Ukraine
Project description

In what is framed as a "new" kind of post-Fordist niche, called the reproductive bio-economy, organised around the flow of reproductive materials and organs, women are increasingly commercialising their bodies by working as oocyte vendors, surrogate mothers or tissue providers. There is fundamental disagreement among scholars and policy makers on how the bio-economy should be analysed and organised. Market critics propose a gift economy based on altruistic donations, while market proponents encourage the commercialisation of reproductive tissues and services.This research addresses and moves beyond the conflicting terms in which the debate has been framed by foregrounding a feminist political economy perspective of global fertility chains. It empirically investigates how value is created and value creation is governed in the global fertility industry, by exploring the gendered and racialised ways in which reproductive tissues and labour move in and out of a commodity state as they move throughout the value chain. By ethnographically mapping the shifting regimes of labour and property in one specific fertility chain that is becoming increasingly popular, i.e. between Israel, Ukraine (oocyte vending) and Georgia (surrogacy), it will unpack the volatile boundaries between gift and commodity, value and waste, labour and donation, appropriation and exploitation in order to propose alternative and more emancipatory ways of analysing and configuring the bio-economy.