Long-term experiences of surrogate mothers in Thailand

This PhD-project explores the long-term experiences of commercial surrogacy in the context of Thailand. Commercial surrogacy, i.e. the process whereby a woman gestates and gives birth to a child with the pronounced purpose to relinquish the child to intended parent(s) for monetary compensation, is today an emerging arrangement involving the movements of people and gametes across international borders.

The aim of this project is to gain increased knowledge and understanding of what acting as a surrogate mother means and how it affects the life situation of the woman.  Elaborating on my master’s thesis from 2015 for which I interviewed Thai surrogate mothers, I now wish to explore the more long-term experiences of Thai women who have given birth to a child through commercial surrogacy one to five years prior to interviews. How did the surrogacy experience affect them financially, emotionally, socially? Do they have contact witht the child and the clients? And how do they remember, understand and reflect upon the surrogacy experience?

With this study I also wish to contribute to the emerging anthropological field of intimate labour and commercial surrogacy, and highlight the interconnection between the global and the intimate by exploring the lived experience of those whose work involve intimacy, embodiment and emotions in a transnational context.

Contact: Elina Nilsson