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Assisting Reproduction, Testing Genes

Assisting Reproduction, Testing Genes: Global Encounters with the New Biotechnologies

Daphna Birenbaum-Carmeli
Marcia C. Inhorn
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Assisting Reproduction, Testing Genes
    Book Description:

    Following the routinization of assisted reproduction in the industrialized world, technologies such as in vitro fertilization, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, and DNA-based paternity testing have traveled globally and are now being offered to couples in numerous non-Western countries. This volume explores the application and impact of these advanced reproductive and genetic technologies in societies across the globe. By highlighting both the cross-cultural similarities and diverse meanings that technologies may assume as they enter multiple contexts, the book aims to foster understanding of both the technologies and the settings. Enhanced by cross-cultural perspectives, the book addresses the challenges that globalization presents to local understandings of science, technology, and medicine.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-941-3
    Subjects: Anthropology, Health Sciences, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction: Assisting Reproduction, Testing Genes: Global Encounters with New Biotechnologies
    (pp. 1-26)
    Daphna Birenbaum-Carmeli and Marcia C. Inhorn

    Since the 1978 birth of Louise Brown, the world’s first “test-tube” baby, assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) have proliferated in number and in kind. Beginning with the development of in vitro fertilization (IVF)—a technique in which sperm and eggs are retrieved, fertilized in a petri dish, and transferred as fertilized embryos to a woman’s womb—the past thirty years have seen the rapid and largely unregulated development of many ARTs. Some of these technologies are simple variants of IVF, whereas others have bridged the fields of reproductive science and human genomics. In addition to IVF, the host of reproductive biotechnologies...

  4. Part I Families and Beyond:: Reproductive Technologies and New Social Orders

    • Chapter 1 East in West? Turkish Migrants and the Conception of the Ethnic Other in Germany
      (pp. 29-60)
      Lisa K. Vanderlinden

      Globalization, both as a world process and an area of theoretical investigation, has gripped the anthropological imagination in recent decades and fueled much analysis and debate (Hannerz 1989; Kearney 1995; Malkki 1995; Appadurai 1996; Gupta and Ferguson 1997; Ong 1999; Tsing 2000).¹ Although they acknowledge the value of the global as a tool for ethnographic investigation, some anthropologists are wary of the totalizing and reductionist tendencies of globalization theories. Anna Tsing, for example, cautions against “assuming a single global trajectory” and urges anthropologists instead to attend to “varied globalist claims and perspectives” in order to mark global projects and dreams...

    • Chapter 2 Cultural Meanings of Assisted Reproductive Technologies: Women’s Voices from Bulgaria
      (pp. 61-85)
      Yulia Panayotova and Irina L. G. Todorova

      For most Bulgarians, the ability to be a parent is taken for granted. The importance of having a child is underscored when the biological processes of conception are disrupted through infertility, often described as one of the most dramatic events for both men and women (Becker 2000; Greil 1991; Throsby and Gill 2004; Webb and Daniluk 1999). Provided they have the information, access, and financial means, more and more Bulgarian infertile couples are choosing assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), including in vitro fertilization (IVF), to overcome infertility.

      In the last two decades, a large body of literature has addressed how ARTs...

    • Chapter 3 Middle Eastern Masculinities in the Age of Assisted Reproductive Technologies
      (pp. 86-110)
      Marcia C. Inhorn

      Infertility, classically defined as the inability to conceive after a year or more of trying and resulting in involuntary childlessness, affects more than 15 percent of all couples worldwide (Bentley and Mascie-Taylor 2000; Vayena, Rowe, and Griffin 2002). Among infertile couples, male factors, involving primarily low sperm count (oligospermia), poor sperm motility (asthenospermia), defects of sperm morphology (teratozoospermia), and total absence of sperm in the ejaculate (azoospermia), contribute to more than half of all cases (Irvine 1998). Yet, male infertility is a health and social problem that remains deeply “hidden,” including in the West. Studies have shown male infertility to...

  5. Part II Couples and Others:: Assisting Reproduction with Third Parties

    • Chapter 4 The Traffic Between Women: Female Alliance and Familial Egg Donation in Ecuador
      (pp. 113-143)
      Elizabeth F. S. Roberts

      In the summer of 2003, Frida, a businesswoman living in Queens, New York, made one of her bimonthly trips to Ecuador, the country of her birth. Frida imports inexpensive clothing to Quito, but this particular trip included a transaction of another sort. Frida and her husband, a limousine driver, had wanted to have a child since marrying ten years before. After two years of trying to conceive, they consulted an infertility clinic in Quito, where they were living at the time, and Frida was diagnosed with blocked fallopian tubes. As Frida did not have enough money to undergo the recommended...

    • Chapter 5 Law, Ethics, and Donor Technologies in Shia Iran
      (pp. 144-163)
      Soraya Tremayne

      The population policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran won international acclaim for their success in reducing population growth in the ten-year period from 1986 to 1996. Indeed, in 1998, Iran received the United Nations Population Award for its achievements. Within a span of ten years, population growth dropped from 3.8 percent in 1986, to 2.5 percent in 1991, to 1.5 percent in 1996, where it stands to the present day (Statistical Centre of Iran 1998; Tremayne 2004: 181–85).¹ The secret to this success was a well-coordinated campaign on the part of health policymakers who showed an acute awareness...

    • Chapter 6 Inappropriate Relations: The Ban on Surrogacy with In Vitro Fertilization and the Limits of State Renovation in Contemporary Vietnam
      (pp. 164-188)
      Melissa J. Pashigian

      In 2000, three years after the introduction of in vitro fertilization (IVF) in Vietnam, the Vietnamese government approved one of the first cases of gestational surrogacy with IVF in which the sister-in-law of a woman with uterine tumors reportedly carried the pregnancy for her. This case caused tremendous consternation. Authorities had to decide which woman should appear on the child’s birth certificate, the recipient mother or the surrogate (Bernama 2001). In the context of larger economic liberalizations in Vietnam, concerns about kinship, descent, economic exploitation, and a person’s relationship to the state all came into question. In 2003, when the...

    • Chapter 7 Contested Surrogacy and the Gender Order: An Israeli Case Study
      (pp. 189-210)
      Daphna Birenbaum-Carmeli

      Assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) have been largely normalized over the past two decades as a standard component of the medical handling of infertility. Still, an exceptional event occasionally challenges established routines and stirs a public debate around a particular dilemma, constituted and perceived as unprecedented. Such debates call into question foundational issues like the spatial and temporal boundaries surrounding the human body, the relations between the “social” and the “natural” in human reproduction, or the divisibility of an ordinary bodily process like conception into a multiplicity of genetic, gestational, and social components (Luhmann 1985: 230; Gallagher 1987: 140; Franklin 1997;...

  6. Part III Testing Genes and Using Cells:: Encounters with Advanced Genetic Technologies

    • Chapter 8 The Genesis of Embryos and Ethics in Vitro: Practicing Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis in Argentina
      (pp. 213-238)
      Kelly Raspberry

      When does human life begin? What protections should be afforded a three-day human embryo created in an embryology laboratory? What should be the fate of an in vitro embryo diagnosed with chromosomal defects, and who has the right to decide this? These questions and the ways they are approached and resolved are at the center of the debate in Argentina over one of the newest assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) offered in Buenos Aires: preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Positioned at the meeting point of ARTs and medical genetics, PGD is an advanced laboratory technique used to analyze the chromosomal makeup of...

    • Chapter 9 Assisted Life: The Neoliberal Moral Economy of Embryonic Stem Cells in India
      (pp. 239-257)
      Aditya Bharadwaj

      India has recently emerged as one of the important global players engaged in imagining and colonizing market-driven “futures” suffused with (bio) technological interventions (Bharadwaj 2006c). These interventions, it is often argued, will complicate our understanding of human physiology in unprecedented ways, leading to an eventual recrafting of human biology and ontology (see Fukuyama 2003). The evidence for such “promissory” biotech futures (Thompson 2005; Franklin 2003b) is most actively sought and graphically literalized in the burgeoning field of stem cell research. In India, as elsewhere, this has principally entailed engaging with biogenetic entities—which range from fetal tissue, umbilical-cord blood cells,...

    • Chapter 10 Doubt is the Mother of All Inventions: DNA and Paternity in a Brazilian Setting
      (pp. 258-284)
      Claudia Fonseca

      Brazil has been witnessing an interest in DNA paternity tests that defies imagination. Television showmen delight their spectators by luring to the studios real-life couples ready, in return for a free test, to air conjugal disputes. On a daily basis, we see women pursuing the would-be fathers of their babies and suspicious men doubting their (usually ex-) wives’ fidelity. Major weekly magazines run feature stories, enticing readers with suggestive cover images such as a chubby baby pensively scratching the back of his or her head and carrying a sign that reads, “Searching for father.” Newspapers that a few years ago...

  7. Contributors
    (pp. 285-287)
  8. Index
    (pp. 288-297)