Meghna Mukherjee
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Hamstrung by hardship
Protecting egg donors’ reproductive labour in Kolkata, India
in Birth controlled
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India is an egg donation ‘hot spot’, which relies on some of the country’s poorest women to source its gametes – yet it remains legally unregulated. Given that egg donors’ experiences rely on the discretion of fertility clinics, it is imperative to analyse the meso-micro interactions between clinic institutions and low-income women. This chapter analyses how commercial egg donation is organised in unregulated fertility markets, such as Kolkata, India, and what the implications are on donors’ wellbeing. Harnessing in-depth interviews and participant observation at a fertility clinic in Kolkata, it unpacks the theoretical potentiality of agency bound by financial desperation, unequal gendered positions, and institutional imposition. In doing so, it illuminates how clinics structure a donor market incentivising low-income women while also strategically distancing themselves from these networks of women. This neglect from the clinic has severe consequences for the wellbeing and safety of donors, which in turn compromises their ownership over their bodily labour. It argues that greater institutional accountability for clinics is fundamental to recentring donors’ agency. Overall, the chapter reinforces a need for contextual specificity to develop meaningful discourses about women’s bodily labour in the global south.

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Birth controlled

Selective reproduction and neoliberal eugenics in South Africa and India

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