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Substantial Relations

Substantial Relations

Making Global Reproductive Medicine in Postcolonial India

by Sandra Bärnreuther

Published by: Cornell University Press

186 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.00 mm, 12 b&w halftones

  • ISBN: 9781501758195
  • Published: December 2021



Substantial Relations is about the historical and contemporary making of global reproductive medicine in India, with a focus on In Vitro Fertilization. Since the 1970s, India has played a central but shifting role in shaping global reproductive medicine: from a provider of raw material, to a producer of knowledge and technology, to a thriving medical market that attracts patients from all over the world. Relying on archival material and oral history, Substantial Relations traces this transnational historical trajectory. The book further examines the contemporary making of IVF in Delhi. Drawing on ethnographic research in homes, hospitals, and laboratories, it provides deep insights into the intricacies of clinical life and everyday experience by depicting IVF users' quest for offspring, their fears of establishing unwanted ties as well as the minute engagements of clinicians and laboratory staff with reproductive substances.

Thinking through substances—metaphorically and materially—Substantial Relations provides a novel and rich analysis of the various relations that the burgeoning IVF sector in India has relied on and generated. It contributes to a broader understanding of reproductive medicine as a global phenomenon constantly in the making, situating India in the midst of, rather than peripheral to, this process.