Research questions


I. Ethnographic accounts

The proposed study aims to go beyond existing anthropological research and provide a detailed ethnography account that will:

  • cover the history of ART in Greece since the birth of the first baby in 1983
  •  examine shifting meanings and concepts of kinship, family, relation, personhood, inheritance
  •  focus on parameters of gender, age, sexuality, religion and ethnicity in relation to ART and examine incidences of “stratified reproduction”
  •  investigate the significance of technology, the role of experts and socio-technological encounters
  •  consider financial and economic issues

ΙΙ. Anthropology, law, language and reproduction

In this project we aim to work on the interrelation of anthropology and law and look more closely at:

  • politics of reproduction and exclusions/ inclusions in terms of age, gender, sexuality, economic background
  • subtle social mechanisms leading to exclusion of infertile citizens, especially women, and their reflection to the public sphere
  • human rights concerns and laws that define who are eligible to become parents and who are not
  • the socially constructed value of ‘having children of one’s own genetic material and how this is being served by the legal framework (ART vs. adoption)
  • an economic analysis of the laws being more permitting concerning ART than adoption
  • the medicalisation of conception as both an opportunity and a threat for personal autonomy
  • the ways in which reproductive ‘liberty’ as a manifestation of one’s autonomy is transformed to a ‘right’ to assisted reproduction

A second axis of the interdisciplinary approach will bring together anthropology, law and sociolinguistics in order to examine:

  • legal kinship terminology
  • shifting and changing meanings in legal texts
  • sociolinguistics expressions of kinship and parenthood
  • terms of exclusion/inclusion in relation to kinship and reproduction

ΙΙΙ. Comparative approaches

The present study adopts a comparative approach in order to examine research findings in Greece with similar research conducted in neighboring European and non-European countries. Due to the significance of different legal systems that lead to “cross-border” tourism among European countries comparison of European countries with their non-European neighbors has been so far quite neglected. The present study aims to collaborate with researchers working on assisted reproduction in Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Turkey, Cyprus, and Lebanon.

These countries have been selected on terms of:

  1. their legal system (“restrictive”, “permissive”),
  2. religious beliefs (Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Muslim),
  3. vicinity from Greek borders (Italy, Bulgaria, Turkey and Cyprus are neighbors of Greece).

Spain has one of the most progressive laws on assisted reproduction in Europe — similar to the Greek one — and similarly provides a “reproductive paradise”. Italy and Bulgaria are close neighbors of Greece and people from both countries often visit Greek reproductive clinics and centers as “infertile patients”. Turkey is also a neighboring country but very different in terms of religion, while Cyprus is comparable to Greece not only in terms of religion, but also in terms of language and conceptualizations of kinship, family and reproduction. Lebanon, which has been the site of thorough anthropological research on reproduction, poses a challenge for the researcher because of its plurality of religious beliefs and practices and its progressive politics towards reproduction compared to other Middle Eastern countries.