Cosmopolitan Conceptions: IVF Sojourns in Global Dubai
Marcia C. Inhorn is William K. Lanman Jr. Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs in the Department of Anthropology and The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. She is the coeditor of Medical Anthropology at the Intersections: Histories, Activisms, and Futures, also published by Duke University Press.
Hubs: Medical Cosmopolitanism in the Emirates
Dubai is the Middle East’s most “global city,” and the only one from the region to make the top-ten list of medical tourism destinations. Through state-sponsored cultural cosmopolitanism, Dubai is becoming an attractive destination for “global cosmopolitans”—mostly young professional couples from around the world, who are traveling to Dubai for work, tourism, shopping, and medical care. In a clinic called Conceive located on the border of Dubai, infertile couples from around the world seek IVF services unavailable to them in their home countries. Traveling primarily from South Asia, East Africa, Europe, and other parts of the Middle East, these couples have reached Conceive through global networks of referral, and are attracted to this IVF clinic because of its medical cosmopolitanism, or clinical care delivered across national, ethnic, religious, linguistic, and cultural boundaries. Cosmopolitan clinics such as Conceive are a new feature of twenty-first-century globalization. But so are the deleterious consequences of twenty-first-century cosmopolitan lifestyles, including male infertility due to smoking, female infertility due to professional women’s postponement of motherhood, and a globally emerging infertility epidemic called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is linked to weight gain and diabetes.