Verena Namberger
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The egg donation economy in South Africa
Different levels of biopolitics
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South Africa is the site of a professionalised market for human oocytes in the context of assisted reproductive technology and, as such, is part of the rapidly growing transnational fertility industry. This chapter explores the biopolitical dimension of the South African market for ‘donor eggs’ by putting it into the larger frame of ‘technologically assisted’, global politics of reproduction. Based on an analysis of a rich corpus of ethnographic data, the chapter argues that Foucauldian biopolitics are reshaped as they operate on different levels within this specific economy of egg donation – linking genetics, biocitizenship, and geopolitics. In doing so, the chapter highlights new forms of eugenics that are emerging in the global business around fertility-related services, eugenics that come in the positive frame of choice. It stresses the importance of paying attention to both continuities and changes regarding eugenics as the reproduction of existing hierarchies – even more so against the background of a postcolonial history of racialised population control and reproductive injustices.

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