Outsourcing problems or regulating altruism? Parliamentary debates on domestic and cross-border surrogacy in Finland and Norway

Lise Eriksson*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    This article employs the concept of respectability and the discursive representation of gender equality policies to discuss how surrogacy is represented in Nordic parliamentary debates and policy documents. The article’s objective is to study how respectability, problems and equality are represented and discursively and rhetorically produced through a comparative study of Finnish and Norwegian political discourses on domestic unpaid surrogacy and cross-border commercial surrogacy. The article uses rhetorical and discursive analysis to analyse the Finnish and Norwegian Parliaments’ bills, members’ initiatives and proceedings from 2002 to 2018. Finland’s policy on surrogacy has evolved from an unregulated and permissive approach towards a more restrictive one, with discourses focusing on medicalisation, equality, altruism and safety concerning domestic surrogacy and problems and risks concerning cross-border surrogacy. Norway’s policy on surrogacy has been restrictive consistently, with discourses focusing on surrogacy as a transnational social problem involving exploitation of women and children, and biocentrism. Analysing surrogacy regulation in Nordic welfare states, the author concludes that policies and parliamentary debates in both countries have expressed expectations for inclusive health policies and social security for families. Cross-border surrogacy is characterised as an unwanted consequence of globalisation and marketisation of reproduction. Surrogate mothers’ respectability is constructed through rhetoric on differences in terms of nationality, class and binary representations of female caring and instrumentalism.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEuropean Journal of Women's Studies
    Publication statusPublished - 2021
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Assisted reproductive technology
    • discourse analysis
    • equality policies
    • Finland
    • Nordic countries
    • Norway
    • parliamentary debates
    • respectability
    • social problems
    • surrogacy


    Dive into the research topics of 'Outsourcing problems or regulating altruism? Parliamentary debates on domestic and cross-border surrogacy in Finland and Norway'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this