skip to content

Changing (In)Fertilities


Translational (In)Fertilities - Karen Jent & Noémie Merleau-Ponty 

The work package explores contemporary notions of fertility and infertility in the reproductive sciences. In a post-IVF world of considerable bioscientific innovation in stem cell research, cellular reprogramming, and cloning, what are the models, metaphors and technologies that scientists employ to both understand and remake fertility in the laboratory? What modes of social and political organisation shape these laboratory understandings? And, what kinds of applications do scientists and other actors envision for bioscientific knowledge generated about human and animal reproduction?
The work package builds on Franklin’s (2013) claim that in vitro fertilisation and assisted reproductive technologies have helped to create a context in which biology is no longer seen as a determining condition but has instead become more relative to technological control.
We explore this new ‘biological relativity’ in the context of scientific knowledge production about fertility, infertility and reproduction more broadly.
To understand the remaking of fertility in the reproductive sciences further, this work package examines the contemporary emphasis on translational research in the biosciences. Translation, in this context, refers to the making of medical, biotechnological and economic applications from basic science findings. We investigate how these applications of basic science are envisioned, fostered and organised, and study how an emphasis on translation at the level of early research might create future inequalities with beneficiaries and disadvantaged populations.
Translational In/Fertilities explores these questions through two distinctive ethnographic case studies about placenta research (Karen
Jent) and in vitro gametogenesis (Noemie Merleau-Ponty). Furthermore, we are also developing innovative methodologies using game design, film, collaborative exploration and teaching to understand the increasingly interdisciplinary world of translation in our research practice.