Substances, Knowledge, Gaze. The Bio-aesthetics of Reproductive Technology in a Sicilian Fertility Clinic

Alessandra Gribaldo


Abstract: The article is based on an ethnographic investigation and interviews to patients and medical personnel of a private fertility clinic in Sicily. An element that emerges as a peculiar characteristic in this specific context is the importance given by the prospective parents to the possibility of “seeing” and following visually the reproductive process, where the aesthetic dimension is central. It is through a complex network of translations within the practices surrounding reproductive techniques (where professionals comments and indications, medical practices, patients interpretations and visions are intertwined) that image/objects of reproduction (embryo and gametes) are made, becoming the focus of considerable emotional and corporeal investment. Knowing and watching reproduction through “bio-aesthetics” means getting the chance to manage and to produce contested possible spaces of agency, making up new different and unexpected comments and interpretations in the supposedly unquestionable domain of kinship and nature.

Keywords: reproductive technologies; vision; ethnography; kinship; Sicily.

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