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Shall we stop talking about egg donation? Transference of reproductive capacity in the Spanish Bioeconomy

  • Sara Lafuente-FunesEmail author
Original Article


More than 8% of babies born in Spain in 2014 were conceived through assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs); almost four out of every 10 babies born that year after direct-IVF depended on egg donation according to data from the Spanish Fertility Association. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork with 25 professionals linked either to researching reproduction or practicing reproduction using IVF (five researchers from universities and 20 professionals from 10 reproductive clinics), this paper suggests that the complex role of eggs, indeed what they actually are today within these bioeconomies, cannot be completely understood by relying solely on the concept of egg donation. Their roles are understood to be much better apprehended and visualized using the broader idea of transference of reproductive capacity, a concept that facilitates our understanding of the socio-technical practices in which eggs are currently entangled, signified, and made sense of. Thus, I argue that we ought to stop talking about egg donation (particularly when identifying it as a “technique”) and talk instead about the socio-technical practices of transference of reproductive capacity.


Feminist STS Reproductive bioeconomies Bioeconomies Egg donation Assisted reproduction 



Funding was provided by Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad [Grant No. CSO-2619(2012-2014)]. I thank Vincenzo Pavone, main researcher of the project who funded this research, for his comments and for encouraging me to write this paper. I am particularly thankful to Cressida Limon and the comments received around this work by the participants at her seminar “Eggs, Milk and Honey: Law and Global Biocommodities” at Western Sydney University. Also, to the comments received at the Panel on Bioeconomies at the 4S meeting in Sydney, particularly those by Thomas Lemke, to whom I also must thank for his support. I am also thankful to the two anonymous reviewers of the manuscript: their comments helped improve the paper and made me think further about the ideas on it. Finally, I want to thank Jose Luis Aznarte, Amaia Orozco and Emily Mack for their comments and editions on this and earlier versions of this piece.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Publicos (IPP)Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC)MadridSpain

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