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Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality

Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm

On Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 6 PM, CSWGS is pleased to present a Gray/Wawro Lecture in Gender, Health and Well-being by Rene Almeling, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Yale University.  The lecture will take place in McMurtry Auditorium of Duncan Hall on the Rice University campus.  More information about the venue is provided below.

While this lecture is free and open to the public, seating is limited.  Reserve your seat today.

Unimaginable until the twentieth century, the clinical practice of transferring eggs and sperm from body to body is now the basis of a bustling market. This lecture provides an inside look at how egg agencies and sperm banks do business.  Although both men and women are usually drawn to donation for financial reasons, clinics encourage sperm donors to think of the payments as remuneration for an easy "job." Women receive more money but are urged to regard egg donation in feminine terms, as the ultimate "gift" from one woman to another. The gendered framing of paid donation, as either a job or a gift, not only influences the structure of the market for sex cells, but also profoundly affects the individuals whose genetic material is being purchased.

Almeling headshotRene Almeling's research occurs at the intersection of gender, medicine, and economics. Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm (University of California Press, 2011), her book on the market for egg and sperm donation, won awards from the American Sociological Association and the American Anthropological Association. Currently, she is working on several studies of genetic and reproductive technologies, including a national survey of American's attitudes toward genetic risk (with Shana Gadarian), a mixed-method examination of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, and a survey of women's experiences with in vitro fertilization. She has also started a new book project on the history of medical specialization. She received a B.A. in Gender Studies and Religious Studies from Rice University and a Ph.D. in Sociology from UCLA. Prior to joining the faculty at Yale, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley.

Almeling bookjacketDoors to the venue will open at 5:30 pm, and the lecture will begin at 6 pm.  After a question and answer session, a reception will follow in Martel Hall.  Copies of Sex Cells will be available for purchase before the talk and during the reception, courtesy of the Rice Campus Bookstore.

Convenient paid parking is available for our off campus guests in the Founders Court Visitors Lot, most accessible from campus entrances 1 and 2 off Main Street.  The lot is credit card entry.  Additional parking is available in the Central Campus Parking Garage.  A map of the campus is available at rice.edu/maps.