*Note* This scheduling program was not designed by folks who do a lot with APA Style and unfortunately it defaults to listing authors in alphabetical order. We cannot fix this for this online schedule, but the author orders are posted in the order submitted in the printed program available via pdf here.
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Friday, March 6 • 10:45am - 12:00pm
Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Reproductive Justice: Re-tracing boundaries of access and identity

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This symposium utilizes a reproductive justice framework to present current research on Assisted Reproductive Technologies. This framework extends reproductive-rights beyond individual choice to address inequalities imbricated in reproductive medicine. Research topics include access-to-care, third-party and selective-reproductive technologies in neoliberal and postcolonial contexts. Implications for practice, policy, and activism are discussed. Presenters discuss intersecting issues of neoliberalism, colonialism, stratified reproduction, and commodification.

Title I:  Stratified Reproduction in the U.S.: Racial and Sexual Minority Issues

Bernadette V. Blanchfield, Ph.D. Pre-Candidate, Developmental Psychology, University of Virginia


Additional author: Charlotte J. Patterson, Professor of Psychology, Director, Women Gender & Sexuality Program


This talk presents two studies that compared rates at which women in the U.S. reported receiving medical help to become pregnant as a function of race and sexual orientation, using data from two cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth (2002 wave in Study 1; 2006-2010 wave in Study 2). Working within a framework of stratified reproduction, we investigated how income and insurance coverage disparities mediated differences in receipt of fertility assistance between groups. In both studies, heterosexual White women reported receiving assistance at double the rates of women who identified as non-White, sexual minority (i.e., lesbian or bisexual), or both. Insurance and income discrepancies accounted for all differences between sexual minority and heterosexual women’s receipt of pregnancy help in Study 1, but insurance coverage alone explained differences in Study 2. Mediation analyses indicated income and insurance coverage only partially explained differences between White and non-White groups. Although socioeconomic factors did not explain all differences based on racial group membership, the results indicate that lack of insurance coverage seems to limit access to reproductive healthcare among sexual minority women. Implications of these disparities are discussed.


Title II: “It’s not fair, but that’s the way the world works”: Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) for BRCA and Healthcare Neoliberalisms

Emily Breitkopf, M.A., Ph.D. Candidate, New School for Social Research 


Additional authors:

Richard Knight, MA Candidate, New School for Social Research


Individuals with hereditary cancer risk due to a BRCA-mutation have a 50% chance that BRCA-related risk will be transmitted to their children. Reproductive concerns are often prominent among BRCA-mutation carriers. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) is a controversial ART that enables couples to select preferred embryos. In the U.S., PGD for BRCA is an available, albeit expensive, option for individuals/couples who can afford its use. This paper presents results from a qualitative study of 39 (x-female, X-male) reproductive-age BRCA-mutation carriers, highlighting participants’ attitudes and concerns about access to PGD for BRCA. Participants were predominantly White, affluent, and heterosexual. Analyzed through a post-structuralist discourse-analytic framework, we examine the discursive dilemmas participants face as they consider systems of stratification that make PGD available to some and not others. We trace converging discourses throughout the analysis and consider the implications of PGD within the U.S. neoliberal health-care context.


Title III:  Reproductive Hierarchies: Transnational Reproduction and the Reification of Colonial Spaces



Professor Michele Goodwin, Chancellor's Chair

University of California, Irvine School of Law


Race exploitation and poverty are key, tolerated components of assisted reproductive technology (ART) domestically and abroad. According to a study conducted by the Center for Social Research in India, “[a]dvances in assisted reproductive techniques such as donor insemination and, embryo transfer methods, have revolutionized the reproductive environment, resulting in ‘surrogacy’, as the most desirable option.” Scholars and policy makers frequently observe that “[t]he system of surrogacy has given hope to many infertile couples, who long to have a child of their own” and has expanded reproductive options for gay men, lesbian women, and single persons intending to parent. However, the attention to the advancements in reproductive technologies and the communities they benefit may obscure externalities worth studying. Desperately missing from ART scholarship are more nuanced analytics that feature race and sex in international surrogacy, particularly its commodification of racialized bodies.  This project takes up that issue.


Friday March 6, 2015 10:45am - 12:00pm