CAHSS Faculty Articles

Title

Fertility and Inequality across Borders: Assisted Reproductive Technology and Globalization

Department

Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

Publication Date

7-2-2010

Publication Title

Sociology Compass

ISSN

1751-9020

Volume

4

Issue/No.

7

First Page

466

Last Page

475

Abstract

This article was originally presented as part of The 2009 Compass Interdisciplinary Virtual Conference. You can read the article along with two commentaries and extensive discussion at http://compassconference.wordpress.com/2009/10/23/conference-paper-fertility-and-inequality-across-borders-assisted-reproductive-technology-and-globalization.

Globalization is affecting even the most private decisions people make in their lives including how to start a family. Many residents of higher income countries are beginning families later in life, as many couples commit and/or marry later and many women choose to establish themselves in careers first. As infertility issues increase with age, these couples therefore are more likely to experience infertility issues. In addition, an increasing number of single parents and gay and lesbian couples desire to begin families. Today in higher income nations, assisted reproductive technology (ART) is available which allows most couples or singles wishing to start their own family to find success with their own genetic materials or with donor sperm and/or donor egg. The price of ART in higher income nations, however, is often not fully covered (or not covered at all) by insurance; and if it is covered, waiting lists can be lengthy. As a result, ART clinics have sprung up across the globe, particularly in middle‐income countries, and patients often travel thousands of miles from their homes to seek success at lower costs. This article surveys academic and popular literature to examine the societal, ethical, medical, and familial implications that arise with this relatively new concept of ‘Travel ART.’

DOI

10.1111/j.1751-9020.2010.00288.x

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