Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Successfully submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) to the Technological University Dublin, 2003.


This thesis is a response to the absence of discussion in feminist and cultural studies of Assisted Reproductive Technology’s (ART) increasing utilisation of visuality and technology as complementary legitimating discourses. While critiques of the epistemologies and practices undergirding ART point to the fact that imaging technologies are used to reveal knowledge held in bodies, lacking in current theoretical work on ART, however, is an ethnographic engagement with how visual technologies actually produce the internal and externalscapes of these bodies, and knowledges about them. Mapping selective visual knowledges and technologies constitutive of the ART egg donation, the thesis engages with disparate visual artefacts and imaging technologies: snapshots of prospective egg donors, portraits of fertility clinic doctors and staff, commercialised websites, online databases, brochures, operating theatres, ultrasonography, laparoscopy and images of ova. Reading the marketing images, proliferating technologies and attendant media narratives deployed to sell, perform and legitimise egg donation across varied discursive ‘sites’, the thesis addresses the contemporary Anglo-American fertility industry’s construction of, and reliance upon, multiple self-legitimating visual knowledges. Produced by new and established imaging technologies alike, it is argued that through these knowledges, which reproduce a visually dominant race and class-based discourse on ‘legitimate’ motherhood and reproduction, egg donation is both constituted and sustained.