Fertility Tourism: Circumventive Routes That Enable Access to Reproductive Technologies and Substances
Signs 2011; 36(2): 280-88
?Fertility tourism? is a journalistic eye?catcher focusing on the phenomenon of patients who search for a reproductive treatment in another country in order to circumvent laws, access restrictions, or waiting lists in their home country. In Europe, the reasons why people seek reproductive treatments outside their national boundaries are quite diverse, in part because regulations differ so much among countries. Beginning with four examples of people who crossed borders for an in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment with gamete donation, this article provides some insight into these transnational circumvention practices based on material from ethnographic fieldwork and interviews in Spain, Denmark, and the Czech Republic. In all three countries, gamete donation is made strictly anonymous. Clinical practices such as egg donor recruitment and phenotypical matching between donors and recipients serve to naturalize the substitution of gametes and to install social legitimacy through resemblance markers with the prospective child. In comparison to other areas of medical tourism, which are subjects of debate as a consequence of neoliberal health politics and international medical competition, mobility in the area of reproductive technologies is deeply intertwined with new forms of doing kinship. For prospective parents, it holds a promise of generating offspring who could pass as biogenetically conceived children. Therefore, IVF with gamete donation is mostly modeled after conceptions of nature. Through anonymity and concealment it creates forms of nonrelatedness that leave space for future imaginings and traces of transnational genetic creators.
Children; Donors; Egg; Forms; Fertility; Gamete Donation; Gametes; Health; Interviews; IVF; Laws; Medical Tourism; Nature; Parents; Patients; Politics; Reproductive Technologies; Waiting Lists; Health Care; In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer; International and Political Dimensions of Biology and Medicine;
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