Cosmopolitan Conceptions: IVF Sojourns in Global Dubai (paperback)

In their desperate quest for conception, thousands of infertile couples from around the world travel to the global in vitro fertilization (IVF) hub of Dubai. In Cosmopolitan Conceptions Marcia C. Inhorn highlights the stories of 220 reprotravelers from fifty countries who sought treatment at a “cosmopolitan” IVF clinic in Dubai. These couples cannot find safe, affordable, legal, and effective IVF services in their home countries, and their stories offer a window into the world of infertility—a world that is replete with pain, fear, danger, frustration, and financial burden. These hardships dispel any notion that traveling for IVF treatment is reproductive tourism. The magnitude of reprotravel to Dubai, Inhorn contends, reflects the failure of countries to meet their citizens’ reproductive needs, which suggests the necessity of creating new forms of activism that advocate for developing alternate pathways to parenthood, reducing preventable forms of infertility, supporting the infertile, and making safe and low-cost IVF available worldwide.

Journal of International and Global Studies, June 2017

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, January 2017

Medical Anthropology Quarterly, January 2017

American Anthropologist, December 2016

Anthropology Book Forum, June 2016

Middle East Journal Review, Spring 2016


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Book Reviews

“Cosmopolitan Conceptions is a groundbreaking contribution to ongoing discussions of globalized medicine, travel for reproductive care, and the multiple and complex modernities of the contemporary Middle East. Marcia C. Inhorn writes with great sympathy, valorizing the first-person rationalities, suffering, and aspirations of the people she interviewed. A very valuable book.”

(Rayna Rapp, author of Testing Women, Testing the Fetus: The Social Impact of Amniocentisis in America)

“The hope of becoming a parent sends men and women traveling to far-flung destinations like Dubai in pursuit of reproductive remedies. Medical anthropologist Marcia C. Inhorn, in the forefront of clinic-based ethnographic studies of infertility in the Middle East, examines both technological and moral issues surrounding choices to intervene, such as in vitro fertilization, egg and sperm donation, or surrogacy. She convincingly demonstrates the ways in which fertility is not just a dream and hope, but the right of a biological citizen who demands medical redress for disability from the state.”

(Susan Slyomovics, author of How to Accept German Reparations)



  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (August 14, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822359332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822359333