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Making a Good LifeAn Ethnography of Nature, Ethics, and Reproduction$
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Katharine Dow

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691167480

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691167480.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 26 May 2022

Ties That Bind

Ties That Bind

(p.134) 4 Ties That Bind
Making a Good Life

Katharine Dow

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how surrogacy troubles ideas about motherhood, maternal responsibility, and maternal bonding. In particular, it considers how ideas about altruism in surrogacy relate not only to individual ethical decision making but also to a sense of community and shared identity. One of the practical problems that surrogacy presents is the risk that the surrogate mother might decide to keep the baby. This is also an ethical question of whether or not surrogate mothers should form a bond with the children they carry for intended parents. The chapter explores how people in Spey Bay drew on the maternal bond to make nuanced claims about motherhood and the ethics of surrogacy to show how “natural” concepts like the maternal bond are used contingently and strategically in ethical judgements about reproduction and parenting. Finally, it uses the example of surrogacy to analyze the salience of altruism as a site of ethical value.

Keywords:   surrogacy, motherhood, maternal responsibility, maternal bonding, altruism, shared identity, ethics, reproduction, parenting

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