Accepted Paper:

Acronyms for the many ways to make a baby: thoughts about medical surveillance and moralities  

Author:

Deanna Trakas (University of the Aegean)

Paper short abstract:

Through the prism of reproductive technology anthropological research addresses issues of kinship, gender and sexuality but has not taken the challenge of exploring the moralities of privacy and intimacy. The paper discuses these delicate matters which have been intruded upon by science, medicine and politics

Paper long abstract:

In all fairness to acronyms, the story of the medical intervention in human reproduction from the 1970s to the present should begin with NRT - new reproductive technology such as ultrasound, amniocentesis and electronic fetal monitoring (EFM). The CS should be mentioned, but the history of the caesarian section is beyond the boundaries of this paper. Essentially all of the NRTs of the 70s were invasions of women's body and it is not by chance that this coincided with an era of stubbornness among women who read Our Bodies, Ourselves, talked in "rap groups" and dared to make plans for home births. In northern Europe and the US, the move to return birth to home was countered in the "developing countries" which encouraged the policy of birth placed clearly in the hands of biomedicine. Meanwhile anthropological fieldwork in the "third world" found that women mysteriously refused the generous care of foreign implemented maternity hospitals and preferred their local midwives. Medically assisted reproductive technology (MART) can reduce the process to a simple four letters - usually three (IVF) - but the anthropology of birth and kinship, and indeed affection, is devoured by the medico-legal technology of conception.

Panel P094
Alliances, networks, and oppositions: the transnational circulation of medical reproductive technologies