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Migrant extractability: Centring the voices of egg providers in cross-border reproduction

Nahman, Michal

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Dr Michal Nahman
Associate Professor in Social Anthropology


© 2018 This paper explores reproductive justice from the perspective of those at the beginning of the value chain of reproduction. This vantage point of egg providers can help lend important insights into the wider processes of family-making across borders today. It centres on ethnographic research conducted on contemporary cross-border egg provision performed by female migrant workers in Spain. Through this intersectional perspective, we stand to gain deeper insights into cross-border reproduction more widely. Egg provision can be a way for migrant women to gain temporary financial benefit. In a system that does not provide equal access for migrants to work and care, female migrants make themselves extractable commodities. As such, they are both a commodity and a worker at the same time. The example of female migrant workers providing eggs can be used to reflect more generally on egg provision, and on cross-border reproduction and reproductive justice models as used in queer cross-border family-building. Taken within the broader framework of reproductive justice, and with the struggles of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender cross-border reproduction in mind, the paper begins by asking how three intersecting inequalities due to (1) migration/citizenship, (2) joblessness/contract working and (3) race facilitate the industry of cross-border reproduction? In what ways do female migrant workers mobilize their reproductive potential, including time, whiteness, other racial/phenotypic similarity to commissioning parents, and unstable work lives in cross-border egg donation? The paper ends with an argument for focusing analytical and political attention on the needs of those providing eggs; the most prized material resources for cross-border reproduction.


Nahman, M. (2018). Migrant extractability: Centring the voices of egg providers in cross-border reproduction. Reproductive Biomedicine and Society Online, 7, 82-90.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 19, 2018
Online Publication Date Nov 26, 2018
Publication Date Nov 1, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 22, 2018
Publicly Available Date Feb 22, 2019
Journal Reproductive Biomedicine and Society Online
Print ISSN 2405-6618
Electronic ISSN 2405-6618
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Pages 82-90
Keywords migrants, whiteness, egg donation, cross border reproduction
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