March 26, 2019

Rukavina Lecture: 'Who's Your Mama? Assisted Reproductive Technology and the Decline of Motherhood'

Event Details

Date & Time

Tuesday, Mar 26, 2019 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM






Hemmingson Auditorium

Event Type & Tags

  • Academics
  • Health & Wellness

About This Event

Assisted reproductive technologies (ART), including IVF, egg donation and surrogacy, allow infertile people to have a child of their own. But these practices are changing what it means to be a mother. Previously a mother was the person whose egg and gestational labor produced a child. With ART and the distribution of maternal activities, we are less clear on who counts as a mother. Does donating an egg make one a mother? Does serving as a gestational surrogate constitute mothering? The woman who intends to be the social parent intends to be the mother, but she plays no part at the point of birth: is she a mother?

 All of this leads to philosophical, legal, and moral confusion, confusion worsened by different players contesting their roles and laying claim to the identity of mother. In this presentation, Jennifer Parks, Ph.D., of Loyola University Chicago, will consider the challenge ART poses to traditional understandings of motherhood.