Unjacketed Hardcover

Birthing a Mother

The Surrogate Body and the Pregnant Self

Elly Teman (Author)

Available worldwide

Unjacketed Hardcover, 384 pages
ISBN: 9780520259638
March 2010
$65.00, £55.00
Other Formats Available:
Birthing a Mother is the first ethnography to probe the intimate experience of gestational surrogate motherhood. In this beautifully written and insightful book, Elly Teman shows how surrogates and intended mothers carefully negotiate their cooperative endeavor. Drawing on anthropological fieldwork among Jewish Israeli women, interspersed with cross-cultural perspectives of surrogacy in the global context, Teman traces the processes by which surrogates relinquish any maternal claim to the baby even as intended mothers accomplish a complicated transition to motherhood. Teman’s groundbreaking analysis reveals that as surrogates psychologically and emotionally disengage from the fetus they carry, they develop a profound and lasting bond with the intended mother.
List of Illustrations
Prologue: Yael

Part One: Dividing
1. Surrogate Selves and Embodied Others
2. The Body Map
3. Operationalizing the Body Map

Part Two: Connecting
4. Intended Mothers and Maternal Intentions
5. The Shifting Body

Part Three: Separating
6. Rites of Classification
7. The Surrogate's Gift

Part Four: Redefining
8. The Surrogate's Mission
9. The Hero's Quest

Elly Teman is a Research Fellow at the Penn Center for the Integration of Genetic Healthcare Technologies at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Teman’s book is an exhaustive, thoughtful ethnography, possessing fluid yet technical writing that reads like a page-turning novel. It will no doubt become a seminal work in the fields of feminism, anthropology, and assisted reproduction.”—Practical Matters
“Teman does a superb job . . . and in places her book reads like a novel.”—Michele Pridmore-Brown Times Literary Supplement (TLS)
“A great anthropological case study.”—Deborah Moon Jewish Review Of Books
“Academic and well-researched, moving and sensitive.”—Judy Siegel-Itzkovich The Jerusalem Post
“Teman’s book meets the highest standards of scholarship and clear, engaging writing, and presents the subject in a narrative form that keeps the reader excited to be turning pages.”—Robbie Davis-Floyd Birth: Issues In Perinatal Care
“Teman offers us fascinating data, on a disturbing situation, in a deliberately uncritical way.”—Barbara Katz Rothman Sociology Of Health & Illness
“[Teman’s] study is likely to be important for policy-makers as well as anyone interested in, or indeed involved with, this burgeoning subculture.”—Times Literary Supplement
Birthing a Mother is brilliant and beautifully written. It showcases Teman’s great skills as an ethnographer and her sophisticated analytic mind. She portrays all her subjects with empathy and compassion, whether surrogates, intended parents, or professionals otherwise involved in the reproductive procedures she documents.”—Charis Thompson, author of Making Parents

“Teman deftly portrays surrogacy as a joint project through which one woman assists another, through sacrifice and instruction, to become also a mother.”—Heather Paxson, author of Making Modern Mothers: Ethics and Family Planning in Urban Greece

Sociology of Health and Illness Prize Short List, British Sociological Association

Eileen Basker Memorial Prize, Society for Medical Anthropology

Stirling Prize for Best Published Work in Psychological Anthropology, American Anthropological Association

Diana Forsythe Prize, American Anthropology Association

Join UC Press

Members receive 20-40% discounts on book purchases. Find out more