Allyn Benintendi

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The Global Networks of Oocyte Cryopreservation
Department:
Anthropology
Term:
Spring 2017

Until 2012 oocyte cryopreservation (human egg freezing) was an unregulated scientific endeavor. Following the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s lift on the experimental label, the global egg trade was made complicated by ‘fertility preservation’-- commercial egg storage for those willing to pay to postpone pregnancy. Global transactions of human eggs take multiple forms: in women who donate/sell their eggs for research, for prospective mothers, traveler women who sell or are trafficked to infertile reproductive tourists, and now, in the eugenic underbelly of companies selling ‘fertility preservation’. I am researching the factors that motivate women to donate/sell/store their eggs, and make them vulnerable to an industry that is trying to attract them. Are the industry agents managing global businesses of medical migrations and medical transplant tourism? Using anthropological theories and methods, I will study the global human egg economy, by exploring the bioethics of medicalizing and industrializing reproduction.