Extractions: An Ethnography of Reproductive Tourism by Michal Rachel Nahman (auth.)

By Michal Rachel Nahman (auth.)

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Extra resources for Extractions: An Ethnography of Reproductive Tourism

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They are permitted to donate up to six or seven times. From what I observed by looking at the spreadsheets that were running on the computer in the laboratory, some women donate to a number of different recipients – up to five. Some couples receive oocytes from several different sellers. One seller, Valentina, said, ‘I will donate again, [pause] if they call me. I have to be good. If I make a lot of eggs they will call me’ (my emphasis). There is a sense in which in order to be ‘good’ the seller has to become a ‘good’, they must acquire value in economic terms.

They unbound her arms and legs and attached her to a mobile drip. She was still asleep when they rolled her onto the stretcher. They covered her with a sheet and wheeled her out of the operating room. A new sheet of paper was rolled onto the surgical bed, the anaesthetist wiped the bloodied end of the bed with some paper and the next seller, smiling and tanned, was brought in and laid down on the bed. One of the medical assistants cleared out the previous oocyte seller’s shoes. Iulia put on a new pair of rubber gloves.

Post-1989, Romanian feminists and NGOs worked to educate women about contraception and to attempt to introduce teaching on ‘family planning’ in schools, but they encountered resistance from within the government. Abortion remained the contraception of choice for many Romanian women. The oocyte trade in Romania began in the 1990s. There were no regulations against paying women for their ova. It seems important to contextualize this in the history of abortions and adoption ‘tourism’. ‘Biological citizens’ (Novas and Rose, 2005) responding to extended state control over their bodies, women were now doing reproduction differently.

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