A Feminist Political Economy Analysis of Medical Broker and Fertility Clinic Websites
Dowedoff, Penny Melissa
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This dissertation studies the ways in which market-based reproductive health services are advertised and virtually represented on a global scale. I detail the implicit values and assumptions found in the content of reproductive tourism websites. In doing so, I show how medical broker and fertility clinic websites reproduce dominant ideologies and how these websites portray reproductive tourists, egg providers and surrogates. Using a feminist political economy approach, I situate the practice of reproductive tourism within particular historical, economic and political contexts, including both domestic and global neoliberal healthcare reforms. The findings of this thesis reveal that the websites portray neoliberal policies that emphasize consumerism, individual responsibility for ones healthcare and that position reproductive tourists as empowered consumers capable of making informed choices in purchasing new reproductive technologies (NRTs). The marketing of reproductive tourism on these websites also ignore the physical and affective labour of women who are egg providers and surrogates and minimizes the unequal power relationships that exist between reproductive tourists and egg providers and surrogates. Their experiences are erased from view and their bodies objectified and fragmented for market consumption.