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.
Discomforts: Medical Harm and the Search for High-Quality IVF
Although laws and costs are often emphasized as the main drivers of global reprotravel, infertile couples’ desires for high-quality IVF services are an underappreciated aspect of these global movements. Conceive is famous for its high-quality, patient-centered care. This is due to the clinical prowess of its director, Dr. Pankaj Shrivastav, who is regarded as Dubai’s “IVF idol” by his patients. This chapter analyzes the “cult of clinical personality” surrounding “Dr. Pankaj” (as his patients call him), and the many reasons why he is regarded as a superior IVF physician. Many reprotravelers to Conceive have already tried IVF “back home” or in other clinics in the Emirates. Patients’ critiques of IVF services and their feelings of disenchantment are recounted in this chapter, which includes several “medical horror stories” involving serious cases of transnational malpractice and medical harm. The search for high-quality, patient-centered IVF thus appears to be a most important driver of reprotravel, especially for those who have already experienced reproductive damage. Dr. Pankaj has successfully treated many of these injured patients. Thus, Conceive is viewed as an oasis of medical competence in a sea of medical negligence and neglect.