Sophie Lewis, Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family, Verso, 2019.
In order to become ethically acceptable, surrogacy must change beyond recognition. But we need more surrogacy, not less!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 center, and their rights to the babies they gestate should be expanded to acknowledge that they are more than mere vessels. In doing so we can 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 to 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 ... 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.”—Donna Haraway
“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.”—McKenzie Wark
“Full Surrogacy Now is more than an intervention, it is a landmark text of visionary feminist thinking. Sophie Lewis tears down decades of essentialist and contradictory presumptions on labor, motherhood and ownership to offer us the possibility of new ways to live with and for each other. This book is as breathtaking as it is necessary.”—Natasha Lennard
“Full Surrogacy Now arrived and I could not stop reading. The crises of our time are crises of reproduction. Radical that she is, Sophie Lewis gets right to the root of the matter—and, radical that she is, finds its roots to be intersecting and entangled, ‘lovely, replicative, baroque,’ as one of her own gestators, Donna Haraway, might put it. But the gestator? Lewis moves expertly through decades of debates, as well as a rapidly growing body of empirical research, on surrogacy to carry us beyond the by-now familiar refrain that this or that activity ‘is work.’ Her goal could hardly be more ambitious: to rethink the ‘natural’ gestation that every one of us comes from. I will reread this book for the sense it gives me that new ways of making one another and the world new might, in fact, be possible. Its verve and wit make me feel sure that Lewis’ reproductive commune will be fun.” —Moira Weigel
“An instructive and moving book about the work of babymaking and the best possible future for birthing and raising children. It offers both a convincing polemic about surrogacy’s past and present, and a vision of how to make it both more common and more mutually beneficial. Lewis treats surrogacy as a signal example of what will be integral to any common human flourishing to come: unmaking gender and the family as we know them, to build new kinds of sociality and care for what is not ‘biologically’ ‘ours.’ I was floored by it.” —Sarah Brouillette
“Sophie Lewis is at the top of a new generation of scholars and activists thinking the transformation of gestational labor within contemporary pharmacopornographic capitalism. Neither simply natural nor banally cultural, gestation appears as the unthought core of gender and sexual politics, and the key of a forthcoming womb revolution: trans-Marx meets mammal’s politics!”—Paul B. Preciado
"Sophie Lewis and her expansive vision of feminism are desperately needed right now. She makes the work of undoing what ‘womanhood’ has come to mean look possible and irresistible." —Melissa Gira Grant
“Pregnancy. Babies. Families. Nature itself. Like capitalism, communism knows no bounds. Relentless in the task of seizing of the means of reproduction, Sophie Lewis is the Right’s worst nightmare.”—George Ciccariello-Maher
“Sophie Lewis and her expansive vision of feminism are desperately needed right now. She makes the work of undoing what ‘womanhood’ has come to mean look possible and irresistible.”—Melissa Gira Grant
Sophie Lewis is a theorist, critic and translator living in Philadelphia. She publishes her work – on topics ranging from dating to Donna Haraway – on both scholarly and non-academic platforms including Boston Review, Viewpoint, Signs, Science as Culture, Jacobin, The New Inquiry, Mute, and Salvage Quarterly. Her translations include Communism for Kids by Bini Adamczak (MIT, 2016, with Jacob Blumenfeld), A Brief History of Feminism by Antje Schrupp (MIT, 2017), and Other and Rule by Sabine Hark and Paula Villa (Verso, forthcoming). A feminist committed to cyborg ecology and queer communism, she is a member of the Out of the Woods collective and an editor at Blind Field: A Journal of Cultural Inquiry. Full Surrogacy Now is her first book