Research Seminar: Wednesday 25th March 4-5pm GMT

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Dr Alina Geampana (Aston, Sociology and Policy)

Predicting success in the embryology lab: Embryo imaging and standardisation in fertility care

Fertility clinics in the UK increasingly use time-lapse (TL) imaging to monitor embryos in their labs. The data produced by TL technologies is expected to help professionals pick the embryo that is most likely to result in a pregnancy. The emergence of TL in IVF has been characterised by technological hype and promissory discourses of deeper embryo knowledge. However, there has been no conclusive clinical trial evidence to show that the knowledge generated does indeed have a significant impact on pregnancy rates. Nonetheless, many UK clinics have enthusiastically adopted TL tools in their practice. This research explores how TL tools are used and integrated by clinic staff. Using ethnographic data collected from 5 UK clinical sites, I argue that the knowledge generated through TL is contingent upon local practices and currently faces significant uncertainties on the ground. Findings suggest that standardisation efforts in TL use and embryo selection need to account for uncertainties as they emerge in IVF lab practice.

Dr Skye Miner (National Institute of Health)

Creating stratified egg donation markets: Organizational practices of fertility clinics in the Czech Republic and Spain

This talk will explore the ways that fertility clinics in the Czech Republic and Spain attract international fertility clients for fertility treatment involving egg donation. I draw upon a content analysis of 36 fertility clinics’ advertising materials and 31 in-depth interviews with fertility professionals in the Czech Republic and Spain and Canadian fertility travellers to show how clinics use discourses of evidence-based medicine, patient-centred care and bioracial discourses to become destination sites for fertility travellers. My interviews with mainly white, middle-class fertility travellers show how these discourses are important for trusting their destination site. While many of my interviewees spoke to the affordability of traveling outside their home country, these travellers were also looking for “safe” clinics with white donors. These organisational practices combined with the biodesires of fertility travellers reinforce ideals of white motherhood and serve to further stratify reproduction.