The Sociocultural Aspects of Assisted Reproduction in Mexico

Por Sandra P. González-Santos

«Assisted reproduction (AR) became available in Mexico during the mid eighties. Since then, the AR industry has developed and flourished within a context of little regulation, considerable media coverage and an increasing number of consumers. As part of this process, terms such as ‘assisted reproduction’, ‘infertility, ‘eligible AR users’ and ‘qualified AR service provider’ have required definitions. Through four years of multisited ethnographic work at clinics, conferences and online forums, and by analysing media coverage and legal debates around infertility I have charted the introduction and development of AR, and I have tried to understand the process of its assimilation and (re)construction within the Mexican setting. The organisation of this thesis reflects the dynamic complexity with which the different actors have constructed the Mexican AR arena. The thesis begins with a description of the theoretical framework and the methodological rationale, followed by a genealogical analysis of Mexican AR focusing on the elements that made its adoption possible, the transformation of gynaecologists into AR specialists, the establishment of AR clinics and services, and the emergence of two new types of AR specialist: the andrologist and the AR biologist. I then analyse the way AR is framed as a paranatural procedure that imitates nature while simultaneously going beyond it and examine the elements that make up what the community of AR specialists suggest are the major causes for infertility: ‘the age factor’ and ‘the male factor’. Finally, I describe the pilgrimage AR users embark on in search of parenthood and their quest for information and support. Understanding the process by which AR has been assimilated and transformed in the Mexican context sheds light on the way techno-science is (re)constructed when it arrives in new settings. In addition, this knowledge has the potential to inform local medical and social practices, and regulatory frameworks in the field.»

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