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Med Anthropol. 2012;31(3):249-65. doi: 10.1080/01459740.2011.596495.

Assisted reproductive technologies and fertility "tourism": examples from global Dubai and the Ivy League.

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Department of Anthropology and The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8277, USA.


What motivates the global movements of infertile people searching for assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs)? In this article, we attempt to answer this question by exploring infertile patients' practices of so-called "fertility tourism." Based on ethnographic research carried out with nearly 300 infertile travelers in two major ART centers--one in the global hub of the United Arab Emirates and the other at a major East Coast Ivy League university--we examine a diverse set of reasons for reproductive travel. We argue that reproductive "tourism" should be reconceptualized as reproductive "exile" in that infertile couples feel barred from accessing ARTs in their home countries. Listening to reproductive travel stories is key to understanding infertile couples' transnational "quests for conception." Stories of two couples, one from Lebanon and one from Italy, demonstrate the poignancy of these quests and begin to shed light on the complex calculus of factors governing this global movement of reproductive actors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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