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Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm Paperback – September 20, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0520270961 ISBN-10: 0520270967 Edition: 1st
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Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm + The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception + Confessions of a Serial Egg Donor
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Editorial Reviews


"[Almeling] pulls back the curtain on the egg and sperm market. . . . ‘Sex Cells’ explains how this unique industry shapes the way we think about gender and parenthood.”
(Salon 2011-09-25)

“Almeling learned that when it comes to donating genetic material, men and women are groomed very differently.”
(Huffington Post 2011-09-20)

“One of the fascinating aspects of Almeling’s research is that she explored how donors, both egg and sperm, perceive their own roles in a family.”
(On Parenting/Washington Post 2011-09-28)

“Interviews with sperm and egg donors reveal an interesting dichotomy [that] may say a lot about how we view motherhood and fatherhood.”
(Jezebel 2011-09-28)

“An inside look at how egg agencies and sperm banks do business.”
(Law & Social Inquiry 2012-01-01)

From the Inside Flap

“What happens when sex cells sell? Do human bodies become degraded objects of commerce? Challenging simplistic accounts of commodification, Almeling offers a compelling analysis of contemporary markets for eggs and sperm. A superb contribution to 21st century economic sociology.” -Viviana A. Zelizer, author of Economic Lives: How Culture Shapes the Economy

“This is a highly informative book. Almeling provides a balanced approach to this highly controversial subject. Although you might be conflicted by the ethical issues, you will definitely be extremely well-informed when you finish this book.” -Alan H. DeCherney, MD, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

“Almeling offers a wonderfully thoughtful analysis and an innovative cultural lens for viewing the gendered lives of sex cells and their commodification in the contemporary USA.” -Rayna Rapp, author of Testing Women, Testing the Fetus: The Impact of Amniocentesis in America


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (September 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520270967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520270961
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #589,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rene Almeling is an assistant professor of sociology at Yale University. Her research is at the intersection of gender, medicine, and economics, with a focus on reproductive and genetic technologies. She has written an award-winning book on the market for egg and sperm donation in the United States. Her current projects include a national survey of Americans' attitudes toward genetic risk (with Shana Gadarian), a survey of women's experiences with in vitro fertilization (IVF), and a new book project on men's reproductive health. She received a B.A. in Gender Studies and Religious Studies from Rice University in 1998 and a Ph.D. in Sociology from UCLA in 2008. From 2008 to 2010, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley.


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marna Gatlin Parents Via Egg Donation on December 4, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I admit I had ideas about Rene Almeling's new book, Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm. I was prepared not to like it because as a mom via egg donation I think I didn't want to even remotely think about what egg donors or sperm donors thought about their donations if that makes sense.

However, I read it, in fact, I read it twice and devoured it because it was just so incredibly interesting. This book took an in-depth look at the the inner workings of egg donation and sperm donation. Rene is a sociologist at Yale, and an expert in her field. This isn't a feel good book, it's a book compiled of data from six different kinds of donation programs. She's done the hard work and interviewed staff along with egg donors and sperm donors.

Her research concluded that egg donation was often presented as something like a gift and that egg donors viewed this altruistically. In some instances sperm donors did as well but for sperm donors donating sperm was more of a job. Interestingly enough I learned from this book and through Rene's research that egg donors rarely think of themselves as "mom's" to the children they help bring into the world via egg donation, but the sperm donors almost always think of themselves as the fathers to any kids they have helped bring into the world.

The book was a very intersting read -- I learned a lot about egg donors and sperm donors that I hadn't known before.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used this book for my senior presentation in college- I was preparing for a rather dry, academic read but I ended up not being able to put it down. I found myself going back and forth between opinions on the matter- a sign of a great, stimulating read! Very interesting- and I liked the sociological approach almeling took. Definitely recommend to someone interested in gender studies, sociology, marketing, or gamete 'donation'.
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By Wayne Magor on February 8, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was fairly boring and repetitive. I didn't give it one star because there is some useful research here. I often felt that I had already read a section when in fact it was basically repeating what had been stated previously.
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