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Bronwyn Parry and Brian Salter - Reproductive Empires: Mapping the Political Economy of ART in the Global South

This seed fund award is piloting a methodologically and conceptually innovative project that will pump prime a larger grant application to the Wellcome or ESRC and, in so doing, contribute to the creation at KCL of a leading, international hub for research on the political economy of assisted reproduction in the Global South. Infertility is a highly prevalent reproductive health condition that affects 15% of couples globally and significantly more in developing countries due to higher rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), post-abortive complications, HIV/AIDS and iatrogenic infections. The impacts of continued infertility are profound for those in non-western settings where parenthood is culturally mandatory and stigmatisation of childlessness rife. The WHO and UN Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women and Children's Health are now urgently calling for research to identify ways of improving access to, and quality of, reproductive care.

By combining Parry’s proven research capacity in economic geography and specialised knowledge of ART in India with Salter’s world leading expertise on the emergence of new markets in biomedical technologies and Borgos’ expertise in participatory mapping, database construction and data visualisation we gain the capacity to perform some genuinely ground breaking work. This project will demonstrate the paucity of the existing evidential base and the incompleteness of the ICMR database through development and implementation of an innovative crowd sourced analytic map of ART service provision in key cities and towns in India. Co-constructed and delivered with Indian partners (Dr. Rakhi Ghoshal) and students at the Unitedworld School of Law, Gandhinagar, the India Institute of Technology Hyderabad (Dr. Anindita Majumda) and NGOs UN Women India and IPE Udaan Programme, this study will both empower and inform Indian consumers about ART (by generating a comprehensive overview of the exact scale and scope of the reproductive market in Tier 2 and 3 cities in India; the nature of the services they provide, the purported qualifications of the practitioners, and the socioeconomic profiles of the clients they serve). It will also enable us to analyse and map the political economy of ART service provision in India and its satellite markets; its unbridled expansion; and assess its very considerable ethical implications for consumers.

This project is funded by King’s Together, 2019-2020

Project status: Ongoing


Funding Body: King's Together Seed Fund


Period: September 2019 - September 2020