Monstrous Extractions: Race, Gender and Contemporary Cross-Border ARTs
What do cross-border egg donation practices show us about society and culture more broadly? In a time of heightened tensions around borders, increased racism and contentious gender relations we can see that whilst the opening up of borders for reproduction with technological assistance is on the increase, attention to the ways in which these reflect contemporary political and social shifts is less prevalent. Whilst Franklin (2013) has demonstrated that biology and gender are remade through IVF, others indicate how colonialism and race are reinscribed into culture through new practices of cross border reproduction (Vora 2013 Rudrappa 2015). With notable exceptions (Thompson 2005), little attention has been paid to the detailed socio-technical practices of oocyte extraction and exchange, and the narratives that people weave around their participation in these with a view towards critiquing structures and formations of race, racism and borders. Drawing on my monograph ‘Extractions’ (2013) I look back at how oocyte exchange appeared in 2002 in order to reflect on what it is today, what it shows (monstrare) and the things it warns us about (monere).
Michal Nahman is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of the West of England, Bristol and an affiliate of the Cambridge ReproSoc Research Group. She has long had an interest in thinking about bodies, embodiment, race, gender and borders. This involves thinking through and across medical and political anthropology and feminist technoscience studies. Her book Extractions: An Ethnography of Reproductive Tourism (Palgrave 2013) examines how military settler Occupation and crossing borders links in unexpected ways with the socio-technical practices of ARTs. Using feminist postcolonial theories of race to analyse reproduction in a colonial society, this book examines discursive practices of making ‘race’ through reproduction. Dr. Nahman is currently engaged in a study of migrant women workers who provide eggs for ARTs in Europe. She has also filmed and directed a short ethnographic film entitled ‘Atomised Mothers, A Film about ‘Austerity’ and the Politics of Parenting.