This is an online event hosted via Zoom. To attend please Register Online or click here.
Claire Horn (CCSF)
Sylvie Armstrong (European University Institute)
Kylie Baldwin (De Montfort University Leicester)
Foregrounding Justice in the Use of Novel Artificial Womb Technologies
As of 2017, research into partial artificial womb technology which would allow the later stages of human gestation to be replicated outside of the body is ongoing in the Netherlands, Japan, and the United States. This technology, which uses artificial amniotic fluid and an artificial placenta to treat the preterm baby as a fetus rather than a newborn, is intended to allow fetuses to survive in good health from approximately 23 weeks. In this project, I aim to understand the artificial womb’s potential impact within the context of contemporary social inequality, and to explore the role of policy and regulation in addressing justice and equity of access in the technology’s development, distribution, and implementation.
Surrogates on Strike?
As the surrogacy industry continues to grow, sociological and anthropological investigations have begun to use ‘labour’ as their lens of analysis – with some even going so far as to suggest that labour law might be a suitable regulatory paradigm for these contracts. With this in mind, this presentation seeks to explore a potentially particularly challenging aspect of this framework: collective action. How might gestational labour be withdrawn? Is ethical resistance possible in this emotionally charged industry? The practical and moral challenges of a ‘strike’ must be considered if labour law is to be taken seriously as a regulatory suggestion.
Negotiating Motherhood in ‘Precarious Intimacies’: How Individualism and Online Dating Is Contributing to Delayed Parenthood.
Drawing on interviews with 31 users of social egg freezing, this presentation will explore the difficulties women encountered in their pursuit of motherhood and how the proliferation of online dating tools made the process of forming lasting (and reproductive) partnerships more difficult. I will suggest that the ambivalent attitudes towards fatherhood some women reported in the men that they met may be shaped by the increasingly individualised nature of the lifecourse and the pressures of performing ‘intimate fatherhood’. I will show how this reticence to commit to parenthood acted as a drag on women’s fertility, leading them to ‘delay’ motherhood, in some cases longer than they desired. This presentation will also examine how the unequal power relations at play in the process of relationship formation and progression worked to disadvantage women as they aged, and thus how some women found themselves engaged in a process of reproductive negotiation and bargaining with their partner in an attempt to secure motherhood.
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