Sayani Mitra

Sayani Mitra
University Medical Center Goettingen
Department for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine
Humboldtallee 36
37073 Göttingen
Tel: +49 551 39 5632

Gender and technology
Assisted Reproduction and medical ethics
Transnational surrogacy and health
Politics of life


Contested Identities of a ‘new life’: the socio-empirical and material implications of transnational surrogacy in India (Erstbetreuung: Prof. Dr. Silke Schicktanz)

India has become a hub of commercial surrogacy catering to national as well as international clients. My research aims to understand, how the use of the Assisted Reproductive technology (ART) of surrogacy, within transnational spaces shape a changing identity of a new life in the context of Delhi, India drawing upon theories of post-humanism and transnationalism. In order to do so, my research will first engage and observe the differential experience and expectations (biological, economic, cultural and social) of the key actors pertaining to the development of the pre-embryo, embryo and the foetus, during the course of a transnational arrangement of surrogacy. Second, it will address the issue of ‘ending of life’ of a foetus/baby conceived by analyzing the bioethical issues like failed conceptions, selective abortions, cesarean section and still birth.
The existing scholarships from India does enhance our understanding about surrogacy as a new form of labour and the conditions under which these surrogate mothers are engaged and employed, but it engages little on how meanings get invested upon a growing entity through technologies’ interaction with the expectations of the actors involved. My research is important for two key reasons a) it will shed light into the technology’s new ways of addressing life, its beginning and its ‘end’ as a process of becoming and b) on how changing discourses around meaning-making give rise to complex identities of a newly conceived entity through surrogacy.


June 2014 onwards: Associate PhD student at the DFG Research Training Group “Dynamics of Space and Gender”, Göttingen, Germany

April 2014: PhD. Student at the Faculty of Social Science, University of Göttingen and the Göttinger Graduiertenschule Gesellschaftswissenschaften (GGG)

October 2013 onwards: PhD. student at the Institute of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, Göttingen, working on transnational surrogacy practices in India under the supervision of Professor Dr. Silke Schicktanz

October 2013 onwards: DAAD PhD. Scholar (2013-2016) at Goerg August Universität Göttingen

2011-2012: Research associate for study on Sexual and Reproductive(SRH) Health needs of Men having Sex with Men (MSM) and their female partners in India” funded by United Nation Development Programme, India (UNDP India)

2011-2012: Research associate for study on “HIV/AIDS and Disability” across eight states of India in collaboration with CMB SARO (North)

2009-2011: M.A. in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

2006-2009: B.A. (Hons) in Sociology from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University, India


gemeinsam mit Solveig Lena Hansen: „Auf der anderen Seite der Kamera. Leihmutterschaft in Indien und das moralische Anliegen der Dokumentarfilmerin Surabhi Sharma“, in: Ethik in der Medizin 1/2015 (Bd. 27), S. 69-80


Fachgebiet Ethik und Geschichte der Medizin

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