Making baby markets transnational: An ethnographic study of assisted reproduction

The project asks how the innovation and spread of assisted reproductive technologies has created a transnational market of reproductive materials (ova, sperm, embryos) and reproductive services such as artificial insemination, in-vitro-fertilization and surrogacy. To understand how these markets are made, maintained and extended within the Global South, the project follows the transnational circulation and traveling of bodies, reproductive materials, technologies, knowledge, and socio-technical devices that constitute and transnationalize this market. On the conceptual side, the project integrates feminist and postcolonial Science and Technology Studies into geographies of marketization, making latter more attentive to the way bodies, gender and technology intersect in markets in the Global South. On the empirical side, it develops a better understanding how ART markets are made and expand in the Global South and how this spread affects the bodies of women and men in the Global South. The empirical results of the project inform (inter-)national debates on the regulations of these transnational markets.


Society in Science - The Branco Weiss Fellowship

Project Timeline

2013 - 2018

Involved Researcher

Carolin Schurr, University of Bern

Surrogacy: Pregnant woman


Schurr C, Walmsley, H, 2014, "Reproductive tourism booms on Mexico's Mayan Riviera" International Medical Travel Journal, May 2014. (link)

Schurr C, Fredrich B, 2015, "Serving the transnational surrogacy market as a development strategy?", in Handbook of Gender and Development Eds A Coles, L Grey, J Momsen (Routledge, London) pp 236-243. (link)

Schurr C, Perler L, 2015, "Trafficked' into a better future? Why Mexico needs to regulate its surrogacy industry (and not ban it)" Open Democracy, 17.12.2015. (pdf)

Müller M, Schurr C, 2016, "Assemblage thinking and actor-network theory: conjunctions, disjunctions, cross-fertilisations" Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 41(3) 217-229. (pdf)

Schurr C, 2016, "From biopolitics to bioeconomics: The ART of (re-)producing white futures in Mexico's surrogacy market", Environment and Planning D. (pdf)

Schurr C, Abdo K, 2016, "Rethinking the place of emotions in the field through social laboratories" Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography 23 120-133. (link)

Schurr, C, Militz E, 2018, “The Affective Economy of Transnational Surrogacy” Environment and Planning A online first 1–20. (pdf)

Schurr, C, 2018, “The Baby Business Booms: Economic Geographies of Assisted Reproduction” Geography Compass online first. (link)