Whose eggs? Egg providers' perspectives on the creation and utilisation of eggs in the reproductive bio-economy.




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Peer reviewed


As part of the expansion of global fertility markets and an increasingly neo-liberal framing of reproduction, egg donation has undergone a number of technical, political and commercial transformations. Its use by a growing and diverse range of social groups, complex national changes in donor identification and compensation practices, and more recently the dawn of vitrification technologies have fundamentally reconfigured the process. This method of ‘fast freezing’ allows clinics increased flexibility in the storage, export, and import of eggs thereby opening up potential for increased commercialisation. Whilst existing research has focused on egg providers’ motivations and experiences or on the social processes contributing to these wider shifts, less attention has been given to women’s perceptions of contemporary developments and changing practices in what has been referred to as the new reproductive bio-economy. This paper draws on interviews with egg providers in the UK (n= 27) and Spain (n=25) carried out as part of the EDNA project (ESRC grant ref: ES/N010604/1). The interviews included questions designed specifically to generate data on values and principles relating to the use, storage, and distribution of eggs. We identified two themes from the accounts present in both countries. First, positivity towards the use of eggs for the treatment of several recipients, thus ensuring the eggs do not ‘go to waste’; and second, a generalized concern regarding what is perceived as the over-commercialization of eggs by clinics.
Egg providers’ ideas and reasoning about the use of their eggs need to be taken into account as new techniques and protocols emerge for the clinical and commercial management of donated tissue. Decision-making and informed consent processes should also be reviewed in light of these shifts and incorporated into the wider policy context.




Weis, C., LaFuente, S., Hudson, N. (2019) Whose eggs? Egg providers' perspectives on the creation and utilisation of eggs in the reproductive bio-economy. XI. AFIN International Conference, Granada, September 2019.


Research Institute

Centre for Reproduction Research (CRR)