Location

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Grand Avenue

Subject Area

Anthropology

Description

This study analyzes the language intended parents (IP) use when they disclose their plans to have a child through surrogacy to their friends and family. Through narrative interviews and content analysis of Facebook posts, blog, and chat forum posts, I found that many of the IP narratives, both online and in-person, utilized animal metaphors in explaining surrogacy to family members and young children. Two other elements also emerged: first, that it was important not only what the IPs said when they shared their decision to have a child through surrogacy but also when. Most IPs sought advice as to when they should tell people rather than what they should say. Second, the question of who controls the narrative—whose story it is to tell—given that the agentive role is now shared between two “mothers.” An intended mother seems to find herself compelled to try to maintain control over her (displaced) pregnancy, while a surrogate mother has a different discursive task: to reconcile the tension between the commodity relationship and the maternal relationship, knowing that the baby is not, in the end, hers.

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May 18th, 9:00 AM May 18th, 10:30 AM

A Blessed Event: How Intended Parents Conceptualize Transnational Surrogacy

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Grand Avenue

This study analyzes the language intended parents (IP) use when they disclose their plans to have a child through surrogacy to their friends and family. Through narrative interviews and content analysis of Facebook posts, blog, and chat forum posts, I found that many of the IP narratives, both online and in-person, utilized animal metaphors in explaining surrogacy to family members and young children. Two other elements also emerged: first, that it was important not only what the IPs said when they shared their decision to have a child through surrogacy but also when. Most IPs sought advice as to when they should tell people rather than what they should say. Second, the question of who controls the narrative—whose story it is to tell—given that the agentive role is now shared between two “mothers.” An intended mother seems to find herself compelled to try to maintain control over her (displaced) pregnancy, while a surrogate mother has a different discursive task: to reconcile the tension between the commodity relationship and the maternal relationship, knowing that the baby is not, in the end, hers.

 

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