Ova Exchange Practises at a Moscow Fertility Clinic: Gift or Commodity?

  • Alexandra Kurlenkova


Egg donation in Russia is a rather novel method for infertile patients offered by an emergent biomedical field of reproductive medicine. While some scholars conceptualise egg donation as a ‘gift’, a ‘donation’ made out of altruistic motives, others consider it an economic activity, as a type of ‘reproductive labour’. To understand egg donation in Russia, this chapter analyses everyday practices of donation in a Moscow infertility clinic. It discusses how arrival of markets to post-Soviet settings enabled an emergence of trade-like practises with ova in the domain of infertility treatment. The chapter investigates shaping of this new domain in Russia and how private actors managed to develop and structure the practises of ova exchange to their advantage. It highlights how given the lack of state regulation of ova exchange, individuals operating private infertility clinics take the primary role in shaping the field of reproductive medicine and establishing the notion of ova as a commodity.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra Kurlenkova
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of SciencesMoskvaRussia

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