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Accepted Paper:

Doing and Undoing Reproduction through Embryo Donation: A Case Study from Canada  
Corinna S. Guerzoni (Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna)

Paper short abstract:

I will present preliminary findings of an ethnographic research on embryo donation in Canada. It will be analyzed how the ethical issues related to embryo donation both shape reproduction and relatedness meanings.

Paper long abstract:

Worldwide, stored embryos are described as problematic, since a significant proportion of them are labeled as “surplus” for reproductive needs and remain cryopreserved indefinitely. There are different solutions for it, ranging from discarding extra embryos to embryo donation for research or for family building purposes. Regardless of the chosen solution, embryo disposition is an ethical contested issue not only at and at political level (Cromer 2023), but also both for patients who need to make decisions about embryos' fate, and for clinics which face administrative financial dilemmas, as well as ethical and legal challenges (Lyerly et al. 2010; O'Brien 2010).

Even if embryo donation is one of the last options chosen by patients in the realm of reproductive technologies (Guerzoni forthcoming), it is a fertility solution on the rise (Huele et al. 2020). Therefore as an emerging issue, embryo donation brings heated debates on clashing understandings of life, right, ownership, human dignity, and kinship, being a matter of contention. This paper shows preliminary findings of InVitroFutures, an ongoing comparative ethnographic fieldwork on embryo donation between Canada and Spain. I will focus on the Canadian study by showing how the ethical issues related to embryo donation - raised by embryo donors, embryo receivers, IVF specialists and embryo donation agencies' employees -both shape reproduction and relatedness meanings.

Panel P141
Doing and undoing reproduction [Medical Anthropology Europe [MAE]
  Session 1