Rand and Reproduction

The Rand and Reproduction project was successful in recruiting,
training and/or mentoring 12 individual and group student projects: 5 PhDs, 5 Master’s and 2 Honours theses.

The Rand and Reproductive Bodies project was initiated in 2016. The project examined the processes through which new reproductive technologies and the related “bioeconomies” (markets in reproductive tissues, gametes and related reproductive service provision) affect and get affected by existing structures of stratification as well as motherhood and kinship in South Africa. There is limited literature that addresses the issue of new markets and technologies for reproduction in Africa partly because of the assumption that such technologies are unsuitable for and unavailable in low-resource settings. Fertility control, rather than assisted fertility is assumed to be more relevant for the context of African countries. However, the continent is also one where societies are pronatalist with immense social, economic and religious imperatives to reproduce. Additionally, many countries with high fertility rates continue to have high (secondary) infertility rates especially due to untreated post-abortion and postpartum infections.

In South Africa the increasing incidence of new technologies and markets in reproduction are linked to such demand side factors like increased incidence of infertility and the societal stigma of remaining childless. But it is also connected to other supply-side factors like medical tourism, neo-liberalisation of health-care and the rise of private-sector corporate hospitals. In fact in 21st century South Africa, almost all aspects of reproduction – from eggs, sperms and embryo provision, surrogacy services and other forms of assisted conception to pre-natal fetal testing, surgical interventions during pregnancy and even breast-milk provision have been technologised and commodified. The project asked: How do individuals and families in South Africa negotiate these new technologies and “bio-economies”? How do these bio-economies affect and get affected by social processes like family and kinship ties and structures like race, class and gender? What light might these processes shed on our understandings of the links between (reproducing) bodies, markets and the commodity form.

Student projects

Rosemond Akpene Hiadzi. 2021. Post Doctoral Research. Ghana’s Gamete Donation Industry.

Emmily Naphambo, 2020 (PhD. expected) (Re)constructing the African notion of girls’ readiness for marriage: insights from rural Malawi.

Nadia Ncube, 2021 (PhD. expected) Sweeping gender under the rug: A case study from rural Zimbabwe of menstrual and reproductive health as silent topics of development discourse

Gerald Mabweazara, 2022 (PhD. expected) Experiences of infertile migrants from African countries in accessing Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)Treatment in Cape Town

Jyoti Chaudhary, 2020 (PhD.) A Study of Surrogates and Surrogacy in Delhi.

Jessica Rucell, 2018 (PhD.), Obstetric Violence & Colonial Conditioning In South Africa’s Reproductive Health System

Anthea Zvobgo, 2020 (MPhil, expected) The imperative to mother: An investigation into the social institutions and constructions that effect the Black childfree woman lived experiences.

Samantha Moyo, 2021, (MPhil expected), Health Provision in Tshitshi, Zimbabwe: A focus on Sexual and Reproductive Health

Gerald Mabweazara, 2018 MPhil. Narratives of infertile couples in South Africa: Challenges and constraints of accessing Artificial Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) and the motives for seeking treatment

Gundula Haage, 2017 (MA). The Politics of Porn and Pleasure – Exploring the Socio-Political Dimensions of Pornography in India, Universitat Freiburg i. Br. (Germany)

 Kim Van Kastel, 2016 (MA). The Business of Getting Pregnant A Case Study of International Cooperation in ARTs between India and Spain, Universitat Freiburg i. Br. (Germany)

 Sinolonuabo Xhonti, 2017 (Hons). Exploring the Interconnection of gender, race and class in the recruitment of gamete donors.

Hons Tshepiso Mashinini, 2019 (Hons). Bodies in Labour and The Disembodied Dreams of Development: Review of the organizational practices of disembodiment through an analysis of reproductive loss.

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