What if Surrogacy Was Work?

Sharon Bassan, UCHV / WWS-OPR

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 12:00pm
LAPA Conference Room, 348 Wallace Hall
Graduate Students

LEGS, or "Law-Engaged Graduate Students," meets during the academic year to discuss a work in progress by one of our Graduate Associates. Academic papers, dissertation proposals, and dissertation chapters have been presented at these meetings, to an audience of fellow graduate students.

Lunch served: RSVP here

Download paper - password required:  Click here

Precis:  "The aim of this presentation is to examine whether the nature of the effort surrogates invest in the process of carrying a child to term should be conceptualized as work, hence, surrogates recognized as workers protected under labor law, or does this practice require a different regulation. Few scholars refer to commercial surrogacy as work, part of the public sphere. This presentation will argue that surrogacy does not qualify as "work", but calls for a different conceptualization of the role that surrogates play in the process.

The presentation will leave you for plenty of food for thought. It will first list a series of different, sometimes even contradicting characterizations of work, to show what makes an activity “work”. It will then look into the major characteristics of the tasks women perform as surrogates, and ask what will be the implications of the "work" conceptualization on the surrogate and on society. After revising the nature of this practice, it will ask what is gained by treating such services as work, and whether the benefits and protections offered to workers, as introduced by the International Labor Organization outweigh the implication of such conceptualization. "

Sharon Bassan
Postdoctoral Research Associate in Values and Public Policy

Sharon Bassan is a bioethicist, with a Ph.D. and JD. Her research combines a legal-philosophical background; policy-making experience; a global point of view; and a feminist perception. Sharon is interested in issues of health law, policy, and bioethics, particularly in the areas of health rights, reproductive ethics, health markets, global health governance, and global justice. Her Ph.D. dissertation addressed cross-border reproductive markets and possible regulative models, on which she has published several papers. Her current project is “Politics and Ethics in the Regulation of Reproductive Technologies” and her future plans are to develop a theory of global health bioethics.