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Splice of Life

A Birthday Present

Georgia, my middle daughter of three, is a combination of my DNA and identity release[1] donor #2817[2]. Unlike her sisters who both have the advantage of knowing their sperm donors in real time (both friends of mine), Georgia’s donor can only be revealed to her next year when she turns 18. There is a …

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Ultrasound as a diagnostic tool in Brazil: celebrating babies, blurring problems.

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This is a photograph of a publicity for a “street corner” obstetrical ultrasound in Brazil. It proclaims: “ultrasound examinations at low prices.” The advertised “low prices” can be indeed be very low: some clinics charge less than US $10 for an ultrasound examination. The aim such examination is to confirm the existence of a pregnancy, provide reassurance, but above all …

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Texting Like A State: mHealth and the first thousand days in South Africa

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What does making a new life look like from the perspective of a mobile phone?

For the phone of a woman using the public health care system in Cape Town, South Africa, in all likelihood involves a series of WhatsApp conversations with a partner, with friends and kin. The phone helps with “Googling” questions about health and childcare, maybe about …

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‘On paper’ and ‘having papers’: migrants navigating medical xenophobia and obstetric rights in South Africa

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Chekero met Pauline at a local pharmacy in Giyani, a small town in the north-east of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The area is best known to foreigners as being close to the famous Kruger National Park, a tourist hotspot famous for ‘the Big Five’ game to which it is home. It is also an important receiving town for

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‘A bit of a compromise’: Coming to terms with an emergency caesarean section

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During the midwife-hosted antenatal class Cath attended in a private hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, where she would eventually give birth, pregnant women were encouraged to name the kind of birth they wanted. They were presented with three options: “natural all the way with no medication”, “natural but open to medication”, or “elective caesarean”. The ‘choice’ women were expected …

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Top of the Heap: Elly Teman

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Teman-Heap

For this installment of the Top of the Heap series, I spoke with Elly Teman, a medical anthropologist specializing in the anthropology of reproduction and a senior lecturer in the Department of Behavioural Science at Ruppin Academic Center in Israel.

Elly Teman

The top of my heap this past summer has been stacked with a list of documentary films on …