Dr. Sayani Mitra


  • Human Reproduction 
  • Assisted Reproductive Technologies and political economy 
  • Gender and Medicine
  • Globalization and Healthcare
  • Qualitative research

Biografische Notiz

Sayani Mitra is a postdoctoral researcher in the OPARA Project at the Institute of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine since October 2017.


She wrote her PhD. thesis (Summa cum laude) at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Göttingen being based at the Institute of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine. She was awarded the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) PhD. Scholarship (2013-17) to carry out her doctoral research under the supervision of Professor Dr. Silke Schicktanz. Her PhD. thesis looked at the aspects of risks and disruptions during commercial surrogacy practices in India. The title of her dissertation is ‘Disruptive embodiments: a study of risks and failures during commercial surrogacy in India'.

During April 2016- May 2016, she was a visiting researcher at the Sociology of Reproduction Research Group (ReproSoc) at University of Cambridge under Professor Sarah Franklin. Since June 2014, she has also been an associate student at the DFG Research Training Group "Dynamics of Space and Gender”, Göttingen.  She holds a master’s degree in Sociology (2009-11) from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, India and a bachelor’s degree (Honours) in Sociology from Lady Shri Ram College for Woman, Delhi University (2006-09).

She also has almost two years of experience in working as a development sector researcher in India. She has worked as a research associate for a study on 'Sexual and Reproductive Health needs of  the Men having Sex with Men (MSM) and their female partners in India' funded by the United Nations Development Programme, India (UNDP India) with FXB India Suraksha (NGO), New Delhi (2011-2012) and also as a research associate for study a on 'HIV/AIDS and Disability' across eight states of India in collaboration with CMB SARO (North) (2011-2012).


Mitra, S.: Schicktanz, S.; Patel, T.; ed. (Forthcoming). Cross-Cultural Comparisons on Surrogacy and Egg Donation: Interdisciplinary perspectives from India, Germany and Israel. Palgrave Macmillan. Under Contract/ Manuscript submitted to publishers.

Mitra, S. & Schicktanz, S. (2016) Failed surrogate conceptions: social and ethical aspects of preconception disruptions during commercial surrogacy in India. Philos Ethics Humanit Med. 11: 9. doi:10.1186/s13010-016-0040-6

Mitra, S. (2015). When surrogacy fails: the biopolitics and hidden risks of the industry in India. Open Democracy. www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sayani-mitra/when-surrogacy-fails-biopolitics-and-hidden-risks-of-industry-in-india

Mitra, S. & Hansen, S. L. (2015): Auf der anderen Seite der Kamera. Leihmutterschaft in Indien und das moralische Anliegen der Dokumentarfilmerin Surabhi Sharma, Ethik in der Medizin 27, 1, S. 69-80, DOI 10.1007/s00481-014-0334-4


September 2017, Between power and knowledge: miscarriage experiences as reflective of ethical lapses during commercial surrogacy in India'. 2017 UK Postgraduate Bioethics Conference (PGBC). Oxford, UK.

April 2017, Panel co-organisation and oral presentation titled 'Reproductive disruptions and transforming spatio-temporalties of surrogate bodies in India' as a part of a panel on 'Politics of the Female Body' at the Annual Conference of the British Association for South Asian Studies, Nottingham, UK.

April 2017, Oral Presentation titled ' Reproductive disruptions and changing spatio-temporalities of surrogate bodies during commercial surrogacy in India', AAG, Boston, USA.

March 2017, Speaker at  Conference : "Women’s and Mothers’ Labor: The Stakes of Surrogacy", Grenoble Alps University, France

December 2016, Invited Speaker at Workshop: “Fertility, phenomenology of the body, and postcolonial modernity in India".  CeMIS, Goettingen.

December 2015, Oral Presentation titled 'Reproductive disruptions during commercial surrogacy in India' at Workshop titled ‘Contested Avenues of Kinship’, Goettingen.

September 2015, Oral Presentation titled 'Failed conceptions during surrogacy: not a pregnancy loss?' at BSA Medical Sociology Annual Conference 2015, University of York.

September 2015, Oral Presentation titled 'Reproductive disruptions during commercial surrogacy in India' at MAGic 2015: Anthropology and Global Health: interrogating theory, policy and practice, University of Sussex.

June 2015, Oral Presentation at colloquium titled ' Reproductive disruptions during commercial surrogacy: end of a beginning', King’s College London, Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine (SSHM).

July 2014, Oral Presentation titled ‘The technology mediated politics of a life and its end: new perspectives on surrogacy in India’ at BSA Human Reproduction Study Group Annual Conference, Lancaster.

May 2014, Poster Presentation titled 'Contested identities of new life: socio-empirical and material implications of commercial surrogacy in India' at Postgraduate Conference: The Sociology of Technologically Mediated Reproduction, Thursday 29 May 2014, De Montfort University, Leicester.