The motives behind post-Soviet women’s decisions to become surrogate mothers

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1 Scopus citations


Russia is one of the few countries, where commercial gestational surrogacy a legal for locals and foreigners. Even though surrogacy in Russia is stigmatized, a sizeable number of Russian women would like to become surrogates. Drawing on SelfDetermination Theory and based on a qualitative content analysis of 656 posts in a Russian-language online forum for SMs, this paper explores how Russian surrogates conceptualize their occupation and what are their primary aims and motivations for surrogacy. They discuss four interrelated motives: 1) Financial: SM is a job, even a profession, that should be properly remunerated, 2) Social: SMs enjoy their unique and indispensable role as carriers of future children that could not be born otherwise, 3) Hedonistic: SMs enjoy the very experience of pregnancy and related body sensations, and 4) Moral: SMs find satisfaction in contributing to common good and ensuring future happiness of a childless couple. Judging by the posts on the website under study, the extrinsic and intrinsic aspects of these motives are closelyintertwined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-56
Number of pages19
JournalSexuality and Culture
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • Digital Community
  • Gender
  • Grounded Theory
  • Motivation
  • Post-Soviet Women
  • Surrogacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies


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