Unravelling reproductive mobilities. Movements within and around the Georgian market of assisted reproduction
Annabell Körner (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)
Paper short abstract:
This paper examines the complex movements of people and gametes that attribute to the international mobility in Georgia's market of assisted reproduction, with a special focus on the reproductive imaginaries and aspirations of actors in a medical system that is perceived as insufficiently regulated.
Paper long abstract:
Potentially, childless couples in Georgia can chose from a multitude of options in assisted reproduction. The legal framework from 1997 allows for a wide range of fertility treatments, including gamete donation and commercial gestational surrogacy, with only a minimum of limitations. While some doctors have already expressed their frustration with insufficient regulation, for most clinics and donation centres this situation is profitable. Foreign childless couples seem to appreciate the straightforwardness of the Georgian system, and account for a large percentage of patients. However, not only foreigners coming to Georgia contribute to the medical mobility. Many Georgian childless couples are on the move, too - between doctors, clinics, and countries. The perceived insecurity in a medical system that is seen as unregulated, non-transparent or even 'backward' leads to a high level of mistrust towards doctors in the field of assisted reproductive technologies. Though more expensive, chances for successful treatment are considered to be higher abroad. Georgian doctors, on the other hand, adorn themselves with foreign education and their clinics with international names. At the same time, not only people travel: In order to prevent 'sinful' future relationships between unknowingly related spouses, gametes are imported from abroad. For the same reasons, others prefer local donors, whose ancestry can be disclosed. This paper unravels the complex mobilities of people and gametes into, out of and within Georgia's market of assisted reproduction from the perspective of Georgian patients, with a special focus on the imaginaries and aspirations behind them.
Reproductive medical mobilities in contemporary Europe and beyond