The Global Market for Wombs: A Study of the Transnational Surrogacy Industry in Mexico


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




Over the past decade, a multibillion dollar global surrogacy industry has emerged in which intended parents contract women to gestate and birth children. Despite the growing demand for surrogates, only a few sites have become global hubs for surrogacy tourism, including the state of Tabasco, Mexico. Drawing on multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in Mexico, Spain, and the United States and in-depth interviews with 120 participants, this dissertation analyzes the technical, legal, and social processes that enable the creation of a new site in the global market for baby making as well as the experiences of actors involved in this industry. This project pays close attention to the particularities of the Mexican context while also treating the Mexican surrogacy industry as a case study of a growing phenomenon of women’s reproductive capacities being marketed and sold on a global scale.