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This overview proposes new ways of interrogating assumptions about globally circulating reproductive technologies and modernities. Comparing and contrasting East Asian experiences of childbirth medicalization provides an alternative to Western-centric discourses and models that tend to focus on notions of individual choice. This special section draws on Chinese and Japanese materials from the twentieth century forward to document how the medicalization of childbirth and use of technology alongside shifting moral ideals and public health policies work to co-produce globalized frameworks of distinctly East Asian modernities. We situate women's birthing experiences in the context of larger reproductive assemblages and hierarchies to highlight the flexible, variable, and contingent spatial and temporal moral tensions and social inequalities shaping ongoing processes of childbirth medicalization and modernization.