Lectures

Gloves, embryos, and DDT: thinking with surfaces on toxicity in South Africa

In the early 1980s, researchers at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa were confounded by the persistent failure of their experimental mice embryos. The researchers had hoped to develop the first successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) programme in Africa. Yet, attempt after attempt, the mice embryos died. One researcher recounted to me later that he reviewed other protocols and …

Books

On reproductive work and family, again

Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family

Sophie Lewis

Verso, 2019. 224 pages.

In the first segment of the 1963 Oscar-winning anthology film Ieri, Oggi e Domani, Sophia Loren plays the role of Adelina, a Neapolitan woman who sells black market cigarettes to support her family. When she receives a fine that she cannot pay, she risks jail time. However, …

Features

Remaking Reproduction Conference: A Review

More than 150 scholars of reproduction descended upon an uncharacteristically sunny Cambridge in June 2018 to put reproduction at the center of social analysis at the Remaking Reproduction: The Global Politics of Reproductive Technologies conference. The Reproductive Sociology Research Group (ReproSoc), led by Professor Sarah Franklin at the University of Cambridge, organized the delivery of 90 papers, 4 plenary conversations …

Features

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 …

Features

Blue binders of white donors: sorting race out in South African IVF

This article is part of the series:

Miracle babies. The microscopic enchantments of embryos. The image of a woman holding that much-desired infant. In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is replete with awe-inducing imagery, often bordering on the near religious. Kylie, an embryologist I interviewed in Cape Town described the images of IVF as part of the inspiring stories that drew her into the field: “I watched a …

Features

Reproducing the Speculative: Reproductive Technology, Education, and Science Fiction

This article is part of the series:

Walter, a Synthetic, quietly makes his rounds in the brightly lit, pristine interior of the Covenant, a Weyland Corporation Spaceship. Fingers pressed to the translucent, impermeable glass, he checks the status of each crew member as they rest in their cryochambers, suspended in chemically-induced comas until they reach their destined planet in seven years and four months’ time. The …