Veronika Siegl

Portrait photo V. Siegl in black and white_©V. Siegl


Veronika Siegl is a social anthropologist and gender studies scholar interested in the intersecting questions of ethics, inequality and autonomy within (reproductive) medicine. 

In her postdoc project, Veronika explores the negotiation of life and death in the context of selective pregnancy termination in Austria – against the background of medical discourses and technologies, socio-cultural understandings of health and dis-/ability, prognostic uncertainties, the lack of clear legal guidelines as well as the visceral materiality of the dead/dying foetus.

Her PhD project (at the University of Bern) focused on commercial surrogacy in Russia and Ukraine, which resulted in the monograph “Intimate Strangers” (2023). In her book, she analyses a surrogacy market characterised by secrecy, distrust, and anonymous business relationships, and scrutinises the ethical labour invested by its participants in order to grapple with the moral ambiguity of surrogacy.

Veronika is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bern (Institute of Geography) as well as the University of Vienna (Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology).

Research Focus


Contact Details

Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
NIG, 4th floor
Universitätsstraße 7
1010 Vienna



selected publications


Fragile Truths. The Ethical Labour of Doing Trans-/national Surrogacy in Russia and Ukraine (Doctoral thesis, Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Bern, 2018)

Transversale Politiken. Verhandlungen von Positionen und Positionierungen in der Antirassismusarbeit (Diploma thesis, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna, 2012)


2023. Intimate Strangers. Commercial Surrogacy in Russia and Ukraine and the Making of Truth. Ithaka, NY: Cornell University Press.

2018 (ed., with Sarah Hildebrand, Gerhild Perl and Julia Rehsmann): hope. Basel: Christoph Merian Verlag.

Special Issues

2022, with Julia Rehsmann. Beginnings and Ends of Life. Ethnographic Explorations and Methodological Reflections. In: Curare. Journal of Medical Anthropology 45.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

2022, with Julia Rehsmann. Ethnographic Explorations at the Beginnings and Ends of Life: An Introduction. In: Curare. Journal of Medical Anthropology 45, 7-17.

2022. Leihmutterschaft in Zeiten des Krieges. In: Femina Politica 2/2022, 124-128.

2021. Transnationale reproduktive Mobilität aus der Schweiz (ein Gutachten im Auftrag des Bundesamtes für Gesundheit, CH), mit Christine Bigler, Tina Büchler, Laura Perler und Carolin Schurr.

2019. Uneasy Thankfulness and the Dilemma of Balancing Partiality in Surrogacy Research. In: Stodulka, Thomas/ Dinkelaker, Samia/ Thajib, Ferdiansyah [ed.]: Affective Dimensions of Fieldwork and Ethnography. Berlin/ New York: Springer, 87 – 96.

2019. “There’s a crack in everything”. Or: How Leonard Cohen inspired my research on surrogacy. In: Medicine Anthropology Theory.

2019. Leihmutterschaft in der Ukraine. Aufstieg – und Fall? – eines lukrativen internationalen Marktes. In: ukraine-analysen 211, 8 – 13.

2018. The presence of absence in surrogate homes. In: Allegra Laboratory.

2018. The Ultimate Argument. Evoking the Affective Powers of ‘Happiness’ in Commercial Surrogacy. In: Anthropological Journal of European Cultures 27(2), 1 – 21.

2018. Aligning the Affective Body. Commercial Surrogacy in Moscow and the Emotional Labour of “Nastraivatsya”. In: Tsantsa. Journal of the Swiss Anthropological Association 23, 63 – 72.

2018. Zehn Monate/Ten Months. In: Hildebrand, Sarah et al. [ed.]: hope. Basel: Christoph Merian Verlag, 41 – 63.

2016. Feminismus und Leihmutterschaft. Ein Plädoyer für das Aushalten und Anerkennen von Widersprüchen. In: aep-Informationen. Feministische Zeitschrift für Politik und Gesellschaft 3/2016.

2015. Märkte der guten Hoffnung. Leihmutterschaft, Arbeit und körperliche Kommodifizierung in Russland. In: Prokla. Zeitschrift für kritische Sozialforschung 178, 99 – 115.