Accepted paper:

The journey to have an American 'jackpot baby': the experiences of Ghanaian women solo travellers.


Ada Allotey (University of Ghana)

Paper short abstract:

This paper is about Ghanaian expectant women who with the guarantee of social networks in the USA travelled solo and independently to give birth to American 'jackpot babies'. These women had good reviews about their varied delivery experiences and described their travels as meaningful.

Paper long abstract:

Contemporary studies have tried to understand the motivations behind expectant women's participation in birth tourism to the USA, probably for citizenship and a passport. Yet, most of the studies (especially within sub-Saharan Africa) have not been able to establish how these women made the decision and plans prior to their short stay in the USA, and their subjective experiences while giving birth to their American 'jackpot babies'. Using semi-structured in-depth interviews as part of the mixed method approach, data was collected from 10 Ghanaian solo women travellers with American 'jackpot babies'. The study found that the global inequality in the acquisition of citizenship has motivated Ghanaian women to act 'rationally' to use tourism to acquire "right" citizenship from the USA. To the Ghanaian parents, the opportunity and ability to transfer benefits which are mostly life-changing to their children is enough justification for their travel regardless of the danger it poses to their lives and that of their unborn babies. The implication of interchanging this form of mobility to other types of capital presents an opportunity for American 'jackpot babies' to migrate in the near future to gain access to their entitled benefits in the USA. This paper provides insight into Ghanaian birth tourists' decision to having American 'jackpot babies'; their preparations and hospital experiences.

panel Anth54
African global travellers: (dis)connections, policies, and imaginations [CRG Africa in the World]