Being Paid to Produce Eggs and Sperm: Gender, Commodification, and the Bodily Experiences of Gamete Donors

  • Rene AlmelingEmail author


Donated eggs and sperm are key components of many modern-day fertility treatments. In the USA, egg and sperm donors are typically paid to produce gametes for anonymous recipients. In this chapter, I draw on 39 interviews with donors to examine women’s and men’s experiences of bodily commodification. Egg donors and sperm donors have different physical experiences of gamete donation; women must manage their bodies through shots and surgery, while men must engage in routine masturbation and abstinence. However, both egg and sperm donors offer insight into the embodied experience of donating sex cells for money and provide evidence that the social context in which physical experiences occur can produce variation in how the body feels.


Bodily commodification Embodied experience Gamete donation Sperm donation 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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