Organized Panel Session
This paper examines how the concepts of pure bloodism and ethnic nationalism in South Korea have been challenged and reconstructed in the transnational ART industry by exploring the brokerage process between Korean intended parents and Taiwanese egg donors. As delayed marriage and childbirth are normalized but the nuclear family model remains unchanged in South Korea, (in)fertile married couples often opt for third-party reproduction to have children. Although the use of donated eggs is not technically impossible in South Korea, couples prefer to go to other countries due to strict regulations and confidentiality issues. In this circumstance, commercial egg donation agencies in Taiwan have successfully expanded to service Korean and Chinese patients whereas previously the majority of the customers were Japanese. While the transnational gestational surrogacy industry has expanded based on the justification of surrogates’ roles as vessels or human incubators because there is no genetic link between gestational surrogates and fetuses, the race of egg donors has emerged as a critical issue in transnational third-party reproduction because donated eggs help determine the babies’ genetic characteristics. Drawing on multi-sited ethnographic research conducted in Seoul and Taipei between 2016 and 2017, which included in-depth interviews as well as participant observation in a egg donation agency, this paper discusses the cultural, medical, and legal processes to create a Korean baby using donated eggs from Taiwanese women though the child is typically considered “mixed race” in South Korea when one of his or her parents is Korean and the other is non-Korean Asian.