Helena Ragone's publications include Surrogate Motherhood: Conception in the Heart, the first ethnographic study of surrogate motherhood; it was reviewed favorably and rated highly by Library Journal and Choice and continues to be read widely by commissioning couples, prospective surrogate mothers, surrogate mothers, as well as, in college courses that focus upon family reproduction, and kinship. Her article "Chasing the Blood Tie: Surrogate Mothers, Adoptive Mothers, and Fathers" appeared in American Ethnologist, the premiere journal in the field of anthropology. She has also co-edited three collections that seek to expand our understanding of family, e.g., motherhood, fatherhood, the devastating impact of infertility and the interface between the lived experiences of commissioning couples, surrogate mothers and ovum donors all of whom remain at the forefront of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). Situated Lives: Gender and Culture in Everyday Life (Routledge, 1997), is a lively collection of rich ethnographic accounts and first person narratives, it brings together the most important recent feminist and critical research that illuminates the everyday experiences of women and men. Focusing on gender and culture, these essays relate gender to the historical and material circumstances where gender, race, class, sexuality, and nation intersect and shape everyday interaction. Reproducing Reproduction: Kinship, Power, and Technological Innovation (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997), focuses on the key themes of power, kinship, and technological innovation, this volume offers a set of carefully argued studies that emphasize the importance of the ethnographic method, as well as anthropological theory, to current debates about the reproductive processes of humans, animals, and plants. The book addresses these debates in a range of sites in which reproduction is being redefined and argues for a renewed appreciation of the centrality of reproductive politics to cultural and historical change. Ideologies and Technologies of Motherhood: Race, Class, Sexuality, and Nationalism (Routledge, 2000) charts new territory by exploring the notion of motherhood for women of differing classes, races, and nations in light of the various strategies and the new technologies used to achieve motherhood. By examining such topics as transracial adoption, surrogate motherhood, in vitro fertilization, pregnancy loss, and caring for disabled children, the contributors reveal how race, gender, kinship and personal identity are transformed through the lens of motherhood , and how motherhood itself is being reconfigured across national and cultural contexts.. Additionally, she is currently completing research for and writing her fifth book Distant Kin: Gestational Surrogacy and Egg Donation which explores the experiences and intersections of gestational (IVF) surrogates, commissioning couples, and egg donors.
"[Surrogate Motherhood] sets controversy aside to present the world of surrogacy as perceived and described by those most intimately involved in it, from program directors and their staffs to the surrogate mothers and the couples who have contracted with them. Based on extensive interviews as well as the latest theoretical research, this unique study is always frank and compelling while avoiding judgements and sensationalism.... Highly recommended."-Library Journal
"A pathbreaking work; this is the first ethnographic study of surrogate motherhood. It reveals how the participants address issues of relatedness, definitions of family, and nurturance, thoughtfully researched and analyzed. Surrogate Motherhood should be read by anyone interested in kinship or reproduction, or just anyone interested."-David Schneider, author of American Kinship: A Cultural Account
University of California, Santa Cruz
"As an empirical enquiry into the circumstances under which people embark on surrogate motherhood, this book quite simply is an original, a pioneer in the field. As a contextualization of the many issues that inform public opinion, its findings are thoroughly illuminating guided by her subjects, Ragone picks her way through the complexities with both sympathy and clarity. Its value lies far beyond its specific field. The book makes a major contribution to social science."-Marilyn Strathern, author of Reproducing the Future: Anthropology, Kinship and the New Reproductive Technologies.
The University of Cmbridge
"In this fascinating, fine-grained study, Ragone shows us how surrogacy is both consistent with, and transformative of, working-class families. Surrogate Motherhood illuminates the gendered notions of kinship and kin-based practices of class on which the contested meanings of American motherhood and family life are currently being played out. It is a book full of compelling stories, occasional wit, and cultural insight."-Rayna Rapp, author of Testing Women, Testing the Fetus.
New School for Social Research
"Ideologies and Technologies of Motherhood is nothing less than the most incisive anthology available on the subject of maternity and inequality."
-Sarah Franklin, author of Embodied Progress: A Cultural Account of Assisted Conception.
"The essays break entirely new ground and introduce us to mothers we rarely learn about."
-Dorothy Roberts, author of Killing the Black Body, Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty.
"A courageous book--or rather its subjects are very often courageous. I found it a humane and inspiring enterprise."
To order a copy of Surrogate Motherhood: Conception in the Heart call Westview Press/HarperCollins at 1-800-387-0117 or www.perseusbooksgroup.com.
To order a copy of Situated Lives: Gender and Culture in Everyday Life or Ideologies and Technologies of Motherhood: Race, Class, Sexuality and Nationalism call Routledge at 1-800-634-7064 or www.routledge.com
To order a copy of Reproducing Reproduction: Kinship, Power and Technological Innovation www.upenn.edu/pennpress/