FORUM FOR ANTHROPOLOGY AND CULTURE

ANTROPOLOGICHESKIJ FORUM
RUS | ENG

Antropologicheskij forum, 2017, no. 35

 

A Review of HEATHER JACOBSON, LABOR OF LOVE: GESTATIONAL SURROGACY AND THE WORK OF MAKING BABIES. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2016, 218 pp.

Natalia Conroy
Laboratory for Studies in Economic Sociology, National Research University Higher School of Economics
20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, Russia
Laboratory for Studies in Religion, St Tikhon’s Orthodox University
23B Novokuznetskaya Str., Moscow, Russia
nconroy()hse.ru

Abstract: This new book by sociologist Heather Jacobson is a valuable addition to existing ethnographies of commercial surrogate motherhood. The author focuses on the United States and analyses its surrogacy market relationships using the concept of paid labor, which has allowed her to identify a fundamental contradiction within the surrogacy industry. She claims that the development and profitability of American surrogacy is mainly possible due to the hidden nature of surrogate labor and professional skills. Various professionals involved in surrogacy and the surrogate mothers themselves tend to obscure their work and to distract public attention from the money the women make. This serves to make the industry more palatable. Jacobson believes that uncovering the surrogate’s efforts may help to generate recognition of the value of reproductive labor generally. She demonstrates the particularities of class structure in surrogacy but gives no convincing explanations for the racial homogeneity and religiosity of her sample or their possible connections with labor and the market. Nevertheless the book is topical and may be of interest to anthropologists, economic sociologists, gender and technology scholars.

Keywords: assisted reproduction, surrogacy, labor, technology, relatedness, USA, ethnography.

To cite: Conroy N., ‘A Review of Heather Jacobson, Labor of Love: Gestational Surrogacy and the Work of Making Babies. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2016, 218 pp.’, Antropologicheskij forum, 2017, no. 35, pp. 215–228.

URL: http://anthropologie.kunstkamera.ru/files/pdf/035/conroy.pdf