Reproductive tourism: imaginative responses to crises of infertility and health care systems?

Eva-Maria Knoll (Austrian Academy of Sciences)
Amy Speier (Eckerd College)
Jeanette Edwards
Arts Classhall D
Start time:
27 August, 2010 at 11:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This workshop will assemble crisis-ridden roots and imaginary driven routes of reproductive tourism.

Long abstract:

During the last few decades, as Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) have exploded onto the scene, anthropologists have responded with critical examinations of how these technologies have enabled new hope as well as further medicalized health care for women. ARTs have spread throughout the globe, and anthropologists have shown how their use is locally interpreted, defined and regulated in varying ways depending on cultural, national and regional understandings of kinship, nationhood, and biology. Patient demand for ARTs has not dwindled since their advent, and women and men are seeking new ways to "consume" these global technologies. At the beginning of the twenty-first century the use of reproductive technologies is characterized by multiple layers of crises: the crisis of infertility which is accompanied by a crisis of legality/illegality, a crisis of consumer models of medical care, and a crisis of lack of health care. Patients who face a number of these crises often travel for reproductive health care. Their travel affords them new opportunities, less restrictions, and "hope technologies". At the same time, doctors and clinics are imagining new ways to meet these growing demands. This workshop will assemble crisis-ridden roots and imaginary driven routes of reproductive tourism. By bringing together scholars who exemplify the push and pull factors of reproductive travel in different geographical regions and contexts, the workshop will provide comparative insights into the socio-cultural dynamics of fertility patient mobility. Workshop contributors are called upon to reflect upon multiple ways patients and providers circumvent crises through new imaginaries and practices.