On Reproductive Work in Spain: Transnational Adoption, Egg Donation, Surrogacy

Med Anthropol. Feb-Mar 2018;37(2):158-173. doi: 10.1080/01459740.2017.1361947. Epub 2017 Sep 22.


Spain's plummeting fertility since the late twentieth century may seem to reflect a waning desire for children. Nevertheless, reproductive disappointments resulting from gender inequalities cause many Spanish women to postpone motherhood and experience age-related fertility problems. For them, creating a family often becomes possible only through the reproductive labor of other women. Our analysis of transnational adoption, egg donation, and surrogacy in Spain shows how anonymity and altruism play out in these three strategies, with implications for the valuation of women's reproductive work and relationships among reproductive providers, intermediaries, recipients, and the resulting children.

Keywords: España; Spain; adopción transnacional; altruism; altruismo; egg donation; gestación subrogada; ovodonación; reproductive work; surrogacy; trabajo reproductivo; transnational adoption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adoption* / ethnology
  • Adoption* / psychology
  • Adult
  • Altruism*
  • Anthropology, Medical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Spain
  • Surrogate Mothers / psychology*
  • Tissue Donors / psychology
  • Women / psychology