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The mediation of commercial transnational surrogacy. The entanglement of visual, colonial, and reproductive technologies v. Michael Nebeling Petersen, ph.d., lektor, Institut for Kulturstudier, Syddansk Universitet, nebeling@sdu.dk

Based on close readings of selected blogs and Facebook groups for and by gay men who have become or plan to become parents through transnational commercial surrogacy, this paper argues that the phenomenon of transnational commercial surrogacy is emerging and taking form in the intersection and entanglement of different technologies. Firstly, the reproductive technologies: That is the technology of gestational surrogacy and the ever improving and increasing ways of monitoring the pregnant woman as well as the prenatal visualities. The reproductive technologies disaggregate the gestation of the pregnancy from the body of the surrogate mother. The commissioning parents obtain the ownership of the matter, thus mandating that the surrogate worker submits herself to the technologies of routine surveillance. Being embedded within a colonial division of labour informed by gender and race, the surrogate worker’s bodily affective and biological work transfers vital energy and reproductive matter from her body to the commissioning parents in the First World. Thus, these reproductive technologies entangle with technologies of power in the form of both global and local power inequalities. Transnational commercial surrogacy is intimately connected to global and local divisions of class, race, nation, and gender. And these reproductive and power technologies entangle with media technologies. First and foremost, visual and real-time communication technologies, but also the commissioning parents’ mediation of pregnancy on blogs and in online communities.