“Baby Miles”: Reproductive Rights, Labor, and Ethics in the Transnational Korean Reproductive Technology Industry

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Friday, November 2nd, 2018

Friday, November 2, 20182:00PM - 4:00PM108N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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This research project examines the transnational circuits of the assisted reproductive technology (ART) industry in South Korea to demonstrate how the concepts of reproductive rights and labor have been contested, negotiated, and reconstructed by various actors—including infertile couples, gamete donors, gestational surrogates, state agents, and medical professionals—across national boundaries. This study envisions reproductive ethics as part of a transnational feminist agenda by examining the ethical issues raised by the complicated relationships between intended parents and gamete donors/gestational surrogates. Drawing on three years of multi-sited ethnographic research conducted in South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Ukraine, this project disputes the unilateral understanding of ART, which is typically conceptualized as having a unidirectional flow from the “West” to Asia, by focusing on the complex relations between Korean intended parents and non-Korean gamete providers and gestational surrogates.

Dr. Sunhye Kim is currently the Soon Young Kim Postdoctoral Fellow in Korean Studies at the Korea Institute, Harvard University. She earned her Ph.D. in Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland in 2018. She received her B.A. and B.A in Sociology at Yonsei University, Seoul, and worked at the Korean Women’s Development Institute as a researcher. Sunhye’s research and teaching interests are related to the politics of human (re)production in transnational Asia; in particular, her research centers on the study of the transnational circuits of the assisted reproductive technology (ART) industry as a site of interdisciplinary inquiry.


Sunhye Kim
Korea Institute, Harvard University

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