The surrogacy industry is worth over 1 billion dollars a year, and many of its surrogates work in terrible conditions, while many gestate babies for no pay at all. Should it be illegal to pay someone to gestate a baby for you?
Full Surrogacy Now brings a fresh and unique perspective to the debate. Rather than making surrogacy illegal or allowing it to continue as is, Sophie Lewis argues we should be looking to radically transform it. Surrogates should be put front and centre, and their rights towards the babies they gestate should be expanded to acknowledge that surrogates are more than mere vessels. In doing so, we break down our assumptions that children necessarily belong to those whose genetics they share.
This might sound like a radical proposal, but expanding our idea of who children belong to would be a good thing. Taking collective responsibility for children, rather than only caring for the ones we share DNA with, would radically transform notions of kinship. Adopting this expanded concept of surrogacy helps us see that it always, as the saying goes, takes a village to raise a child.
“Rooted in historical, site-based, narrative, and political accounts, Full Surrogacy Now is the seriously radical cry for full gestational justice that I long for. This kind of gestation depends on realizing the implications of knowing that we all actually, materially, make one another, and that this labor continues to be exploited, extracted, and alienated—unequally—at every turn in Capitalism and Patriarchy. Full of brilliant, generative, and also shamelessly biting critique of both bourgeois and communist tracts, feminist and otherwise, Lewis’s voice is unique and bracing. I need it; it fills my whole self with reimagined possibilities for making oddkin who are not property. Lewis set out to write an immoderate, utopian, partisan, anti-authoritarian communist defense of surrogates and surrogacy in ramifying registers of meanings and practices, and she has succeeded. Lewis asks the necessary questions, ‘Can we parent politically, hopefully, nonreproductively—in a comradely way?’ Can we become full surrogates for and with each other? In a book full of fierce demystifications and sharp dissections of injustice masquerading as humanitarianism, nonetheless Lewis convincingly and radically affirms: ‘Everywhere about me, I can see beautiful militants hell-bent on regeneration, not self-replication.’”
“Giving birth is commonly called labor. What happens if all of human pregancy and gestation is thought from the labor point of view? That’s the challenge of Full Surrogacy Now. If it is all labor, then how can that labor be freed from now global regimes of colonial and commodity exploitation? Lewis takes one of the most everyday things about being human and thinks it through from the point of view of a cyborg communism. This book goes far into places where few gender abolitionists have ventured and brings us a vision of another life.”