skip to primary navigationskip to content

Stratified (In)Fertilities

Stratified (In)Fertilities - Kathryn Medièn

The Stratified (In)Fertilities work package addresses the ways in which fertility and infertility are distributed and differently experienced along axes of race, class, gender, sexuality, and structured by border controls, colonial and settler colonial regimes, and geo-political location. Rather than asking how fertility and reproduction are affected by or a product of these structures, this work package asks how stratified reproduction and fertility can serve as a lens through which to understand geopolitics. Born out of much older histories of enslavement, imperial extraction and colonial and settler colonial projects, overt far-right politics are on the rise globally. Coupled with ecological destruction, selective national healthcare systems, the proliferation of carceral technologies of surveillance and control (algorithmic policing, private prisons, immigrant incarceration, biometric governance etc.), and the increase in the forced movement of peoples, who gets to reproduce is a problematic that is becoming increasingly central to feminist and far-right discourse alike.

Informed by the work of scholars such as Ruha Benjamin, Dorothy Roberts, Kim Tallbear, Michelle Murphy, among others, and drawing on the traditions of feminist theory, critical race studies, and reproductive activism, this work package centres processes of racialization as central to the production of (in)fertility and experiences of it in post-ART times.

Bringing these various histories, stratifications and strands together, the Stratified (In)Fertilities work package explores the specific interconnections between the introduction of NHS charges for maternal care and Home Office border enforcement as they play out in the context of the ‘hostile environment’. As such, the project asks what the tools and technologies being used to regulate migrant women’s reproductive lives tell us about the nature of contemporary British state governing and bordering practices. In particular, I am seeking to understand how data sharing between NHS trusts’ and the Home Office impact migrant women’s ability to access appropriate maternal care, and the informal networks of support and survival that are emerging in response to these charges.

Changing (In)Fertilities is a major new collaborative interdisciplinary research project funded by the Wellcome Trust and based in the Reproductive Sociology Research Group (ReproSoc) at the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with Prof. Marcia C. Inhorn of Yale University.


We know that IVF and ARTs do not just reproduce babies: they reproduce values, norms, identities and institutions.

wellcome-logo-black copy.png

This project is funded by the Wellcome Trust