Surrogacy as Reproductive Labour

  • Seminar
Dr Sigrid Vertommen sitting at a table with archive materials. She has an open pamphlet in one hand and she is making notes with a pencil and notepad.
Dr Sigrid Vertommen, Steven Pocock. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).

What you’ll do

Hear Dr Sigrid Vertommen discuss her research on women’s roles in “reproductive labour” in the global fertility industry as she explores the boundaries between gift-commodity, motherhood-work and altruism-profit in the fertility industry. 

Over the past two decades, surrogate pregnancy has transformed from a small-scale activity into a booming 30-billion-dollar “baby business”. Women, overwhelmingly from the global South and East, are recruited as egg-cell providers or surrogates to provide the “gift of life” to intended parents.

The talk will draw on archival material and ephemera from Wellcome Collection’s library, such as promotional material from The Fertility Show. After the talk, you’ll have the opportunity to look at some key documents from the archives and ask questions.

About your speaker

Photograph of Dr Sigrid Vertommen

Dr Sigrid Vertommen

Sigrid’s researcher, King’s College London

Dr Sigrid Vertommen is a research fellow at the Department of Conflict and Development Studies at Ghent University, and an affiliated scholar at the Sociology of Reproduction Research Group of the University of Cambridge. Her work explores the global politics of (assisted) reproduction, with a focus on transnational surrogacy between Israel/Palestine and Georgia. She is also a feminist and slow science organiser.