Laura Corradi 0000-0002-0621-3299 is a scholar/activist with a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is currently a researcher and professor of Gender Studies and Intersectional Methodology at the Università della Calabrià, South Italy. She is the Director of the “Gypsy Summer School” and the coordinator of the “Decolonial Feminist Queer Lab” and served as Elected Representative on the Research Committee “Women in Societies” of the International Sociological Association (2010-2014). With 108 publications, she carried out qualitative research mostly on women’s health and social movements from HIV-Aids to cancer activism. She has published on Gypsy feminism, Indigenous feminisms, feminist semiotics, ecofeminism, the primary prevention of environmental illnesses and the human costs of genetically engineered seeds (with Vandana Shiva). In 2017 and 2019, she published two books on surrogacy, one of which was translated into Spanish.
From their first use in the late 1970s until the mid-1990s, Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) gave rise to serious concerns by feminists internationally. Their questions ranged from asking about health risks to ethical and political problems inherent in these technologies. However, over the last 25 years, interest in women’s health which used to be central to feminist theory and politics, progressively decreased and with it concerns about ART. Today, while the medical literature about health risks in ART is increasing, the topic of women’s health in relation to reproductive technologies remains marginal in feminist discourse, social sciences, and the mainstream media. On the basis of recent medical studies, published in peer reviewed scientific journals, this article aims to begin filling this gap. The author discusses adverse effects of ART for three groups of people from a feminist perspective: egg providers; surrogate mothers; and children who are born through in vitro fertilization (IVF), heterologous embryo transfer (HET), and surrogacy. Among the numerous health problems are ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS), birth defects, tumours in children, chromosomal damage, and cardiac and metabolic diseases. Serious questions arise about the long-term health of women who undergo repeated hormonal stimulations, sell their egg cells, or “rent” their wombs as surrogate mothers—a process entailing the exploitation of economically vulnerable women. It also addresses some of the ethical issues arising, such as the importance of risk disclosure to potential IVF users, egg providers, surrogate mothers and intended parents; children’s right to access all details regarding their genetic origins and their birth mother; and relevant psychosocial problems related to the use of ART. This paper calls for renewed critiques of women’s experiences with reproductive technologies so that they can become, yet again, an important part of the feminist movement.
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Corradi, Laura Maria (2021) "Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Health-Related Issues Among Women and Children: A Research Review," Dignity: A Journal of Analysis of Exploitation and Violence: Vol. 6: Iss. 2, Article 2. https://doi.org/10.23860/dignity.2021.06.02.02
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