As India becomes the center for global commercial surrogacy, infertile Indians themselves may be forced to seek assisted reproductive technology (ART) services elsewhere. The inability of Indian couples to access affordable, high-quality services in their home country may force them to become reproductive tourists—a phenomenon defined in this article as “reproductive exile.” Reproductive exile bespeaks the “forced” nature of fertility travel, when infertile couples must leave their home country in order to access safe, effective, affordable, and legal infertility care. Their choice to use ARTs to produce a child is voluntary, but their travel abroad is not. Furthermore, the term exile takes on additional meanings in the South Asian context. South Asian laborers, both poor and middle-class, may feel forced to leave home in order to secure a living wage, send home remittances, save for their futures, and accrue enough money to access ART services. For many South Asians, Dubai is now the global hub for both labor migration and reproductive exile, owing to the long history of South Asian–Arab Gulf transnationalism, as well as Dubai's reputation for specializing in all manner of “high-tech” services. In this article, reproductive exile to global Dubai will be explored, along with three South Asian stories highlighting infertile couples' dreams of making a test-tube baby.
Reproductive Exile in Global Dubai: South Asian Stories
Marcia C. Inhorn is the William K. Lanman, Jr., Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at Yale University. A specialist on Middle Eastern gender, religion, and health issues, Inhorn has conducted research on the social impact of infertility and assisted reproductive technologies in Egypt, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, and Arab America over the past twenty-five years. She is editor of eight volumes and author of four books on the subject, including most recently The New Arab Man: Emergent Masculinities, Technologies, and Islam in the Middle East (2012). Inhorn is the founding editor of the Journal of Middle East Women's Studies (JMEWS) and coeditor of Berghahn's Fertility, Reproduction, and Sexuality series. Inhorn has directed Yale's Council on Middle East Studies and the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Michigan. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors of the Middle East Studies Association and was president of the Society for Medical Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association. In fall 2010, Inhorn was the first Diane Middlebrook and Carl Djerassi Visiting Professor at the Centre for Gender Studies, University of Cambridge.
Marcia C. Inhorn; Reproductive Exile in Global Dubai: South Asian Stories. Cultural Politics 1 July 2012; 8 (2): 283–306. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/17432197-1575174
Download citation file: