This article explores how the notion of happiness is employed in
order to obscure the moral ambiguity and intimate uncertainties of
commercial surrogacy. My ethnographic data elucidate the ways in
which surrogacy agents and other intermediaries operating in Russia
and Ukraine evoke happiness. I discuss three forms of their affective
labour: a discourse of fear and hope, the attempt to make surrogacy
a joyous and happy process and the claim that there is a right to happiness.
I contend that ‘happiness’ serves as the ultimate argument,
an argument that has the affective power to override moral concerns
and delegitimise critique.