Being parents: Imagined Relatedness and the Reality of Substance in Third Party Reproduction in India
A Lunch Lecture by Mizuho Matsuo, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the National Museum of Ethnology, Japan and currently a Research Fellow at IIAS.
This lecture will take place in the IIAS Conference Room from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm (not online).
We will serve lunch to registered attendees. Please register by 15 January to reserve a seat and lunch.
Everyone is welcome!
How is the reality of relatedness created? This talk explores the ways in which egg donors, surrogate mothers and intended parents in India imagine and do not imagine their relationship with children born through third-party reproduction.
Third-party reproduction, which includes surrogacy and the transaction of donor gametes (eggs and sperm), is inextricably linked to plural parenthood and the question of who the ‘real’ parents are. In a legal and medical context, gestational surrogacy in India treats surrogates as not ‘real’ mothers, favouring the ‘natural’ relationship between the intended mother and the child. Here the genetic bond may ignore gestation in giving the supremacy of genes to define the relations, but this logic is reversed in the case of egg donation, where it is not uncommon for people to regard egg donors as ‘real’ mothers. Who is seen as a ‘real’ parent and who is not is deeply embedded in the social process of creating kinship, shared notions of bodily substances, corporeal reality and the social recognition of the child. The elements of gestation, genetic relations and care are confronted and coexist in the practice of third-party reproduction.
This talk discusses the multiple aspects of imagined kinship based on the flow of substances and its entanglement in the making of a ‘child of one's own’ in contemporary Indian society.
Mizuho Matsuo is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the National Museum of Ethnology, Japan and currently a Research Fellow at IIAS. Her field of specialisation is reproduction, kinship, genealogy and gender in South Asia, especially focusing on infertility and reproductive technologies. Her publications include Living as Childless in Rural India: Anthropology of Gender and Reproduction(in Japanese, Showado, 2013), Anthropology of Substance: Body, Nature and the Reality of Relatedness (in Japanese, Nakanishiya, 2022), Life, Illness, and Death in Contemporary South Asia (Routledge, 2023). She is currently working on family formation and the production of genealogies among the Dutch Burghers and Eurasians in colonial Ceylon.
Please register using the web form on this page by 15 January to reserve a seat and lunch.