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Jennifer Haylett forthcoming publication

"One Woman Helping Another: Egg Donation as a Case of Relational Work" has been accepted for publication in the June 2012 special relational work issue of the journal Politics and Society.

California is the global hub for assisted reproductive technology practices, including egg donation.  The rise of egg donation in the U.S. is surprising given the cultural context linking genetics and motherhood and rejecting the commodification of reproduction.  Scholars in the hostile worlds camp have grappled with the relationship between intimacy and economics, yet employing this theory to explain the increase in egg donation is unsatisfactory.  The concept of relational work, developed by Viviana Zelizer, provides scholars with a robust analytical tool to account for the rise in egg donation.  This paper analyzes the relational work engaged in by egg donors and fertility center staff. I argue that donors and staff construct an understanding of egg donation that avoids directly challenging the cultural context mentioned above.  Analyzing egg donation as a case of relational work demonstrates the need to move beyond the reciprocity/market dichotomy upheld by the hostile worlds framework.


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