Embodied Subjects and Fragmented Objects: Women’s Bodies, Assisted Reproduction Technologies and the Right to Self-Determination

Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 5 (4):239-249 (2008)
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Abstract

This article focuses on the transformation of the female reproductive body with the use of assisted reproduction technologies under neo-liberal economic globalisation, wherein the ideology of trade without borders is central, as well as under liberal feminist ideals, wherein the right to self-determination is central. Two aspects of the body in western medicine—the fragmented body and the commodified body, and the integral relation between these two—are highlighted. This is done in order to analyse the implications of local and global transactions in women’s reproductive body parts for their right to self-determination and individual agency and what this means for their embodiment. We conclude by exploring whether women can become embodied subjects by exercising their proprietary right to their bodies through directing technology to achieve their own goals, while at the same time being fragmented into parts and losing their personhood and bodily integrity.

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