Graduation Year

2004

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Women's Studies

Major Professor

DiPalma, Carolyn

Keywords

altruism, exploitation, assisted reproductive technology, egg donation, feminism, autonomy

Abstract

As an Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) that has been available for over twenty years, the transfer of healthy eggs from a presumably fertile woman into the womb of a woman diagnosed as infertile has become a common part of the landscape of human reproduction in the United States. Yet the general societal acceptance of this practice commonly known as "egg donation" oversimplifies the complex medical, ethical, and societal issues ignited by its use. In light of the limited critical discussions presently occurring about egg transfer, I will interrogate some of the silences and more ambiguous issues invoked by its practice. By giving particular attention to the often ignored experiences of egg "donors," I will analyze the popularly used discourses around this ART.

In doing so, I will investigate the ways in which egg donation complicates notions of altruism, autonomy, and exploitation as well as what consequences this has for women's reproductive freedoms as envisioned by many U.S. feminists.

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