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Abortion Pills, Test Tube Babies, and Sex Toys
Emerging Sexual and Reproductive Technologies in the Middle East and North Africa

Editor(s): L. L. Wynn, Angel M. Foster

From Viagra to in vitro fertilization, new technologies are rapidly changing the global face of reproductive health. They are far from neutral: religious, cultural, social, and legal contexts condition their global transfer. The way a society interprets and adopts (or rejects) a new technology reveals a great deal about the relationship between bodies and the body politic. Reproductive health technologies are often particularly controversial because of their potential to reconfigure kinship relationships, sexual mores, gender roles, and the way life is conceptualized. This collection of original ethnographic research spans the region from Morocco and Tunisia to Israel and Iran and covers a wide range of technologies, including emergency contraception, medication abortion, gamete donation, hymenoplasty, erectile dysfunction, and gender transformation.

Table of Contents


Introduction | Setting the Context: Sexuality, Reproductive Health, and Medical Technologies in the Middle East and North Africa
Angel M. Foster and L. L. Wynn

Part I | Preventing and Terminating Pregnancy

Is There an Islamic IUD? Exploring the Acceptability of a Hormone-Releasing Intrauterine Device in Egypt
Ahmed Ragaa A. Ragab

Introducing Emergency Contraception in Morocco: A Slow Start after a Long Journey
Elena Chopyak

Mifepristone in Tunisia: A Model for Expanding Access to Medication Abortion
Angel M. Foster

Navigating Barriers to Abortion Access: Misoprostol in the West Bank
Francoise Daoud and Angel M. Foster

Part II | Achieving Pregnancy and Parenthood

"Worse comes to worst, I have a safety net": Fertility Preservation among Young, Single, Jewish Breast Cancer Patients in Israel
Daphna Birenbaum-Carmeli, Efrat Dagan, and Suzi Modiano Gattegno

The "ART" of Making Babies Using In Vitro Fertilization: Assisted Reproduction Technologies in the United Arab Emirates
Shirin Karsan

Wanted Babies, Excess Fetuses: The Middle East's In Vitro Fertilization, High-Order Multiple Pregnancy, Fetal Reduction Nexus
Marcia C. Inhorn

Birthing Bodies, Pregnant Selves: Gestational Surrogates, Intended Mothers, and Distributed Maternity in Israel
Elly Teman

C-Sections as a Nefarious Plot: The Politics of Pronatalism in Turkey
Katrina MacFarlane

Part III | Engaging Sex and Sexuality

HPV Vaccine Uptake in Lebanon: A Vicious Cycle of Misinformation, Stigma, and Prohibitive Costs
Faysal El-Kak

Hymenoplasty in Contemporary Iran: Liminality and the Embodiment of Contested Discourses
Azal Ahmadi

"Viagra Soup": Consumer Fantasies and Masculinity in Portrayals of Erectile Dysfunction Drugs in Cairo, Egypt
L. L. Wynn

Sex Toys and the Politics of Pleasure in Morocco
Jessica Marie Newman

Narratives of Gender Transformation Practices for Transgender Women in Diyarbakir, Turkey
M. A. Sanders

Conclusion | Individual, Community, Religion, State: Technology at the Intersection
Donna Lee Bowen

Acronyms and Abbreviations

Glossary of Foreign Terms




Biography of Editor(s)

L. L. Wynn, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, is the author of Pyramids and Nightclubs: A Travel Ethnography of Arab and Western Imaginations of Egypt, from King Tut and a Colony of Atlantis to Rumors of Sex Orgies, Urban Legends about a Marauding Prince, and Blonde Belly Dancers.
Angel M. Foster holds an endowed chair of women's health research at the University of Ottawa. She is a cofounder of Cambridge Reproductive Health Consultants.