‘Reproductive tourism’? Presenting a sociological agenda for exploring the use of overseas fertility clinics
Dr Nicky Hudson
School of Applied Social Sciences, De Montford University
The social context of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) has been explored by a number of authors in a range of societies, but the transnational aspects of ARTs are under-researched. Increasing numbers of prospective parents are choosing to assist procreation in the global arena; leaving their country of origin in pursuit of technologies which will enable them to have a child. ‘Reproductive tourism’, as it has been pejoratively termed by some sections of the mass media, raises significant issues at the interface of technology, health and society and has been characterised as a specific form of health tourism. That this process is risk-laden for individuals and transgresses moral as well as physical boundaries, are some of the arguments that have been made against this recent social phenomenon. However, little is known about the actual experiences of those who are intimately connected with this process. This talk is based on a current ESRC-study which is designed to explore the phenomenon in greater detail. It describes the ways in which the use of overseas fertility treatment has been constructed in a number of competing discourses, and suggests the development of an alternative sociological ‘lens’ through which to view the practice.
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