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The technologies of procreation in the South

Les technologies de la procréation au Sud

Measures, knowledge, experiences

Dispositifs, savoirs, expériences

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Published on Thursday, July 11, 2013


L'AMP est un dispositif biomédical qui nécessite un environnement social, culturel et technique pour fonctionner, tout en étant lui-même producteur de savoirs, de compétences techniques et de formes organisationnelles spécifiques. Le développement de l’AMP en Afrique subsaharienne à partir des années 1980 est largement méconnu dans le monde scientifique et médiatique. Les objectifs du colloque sont : présenter les questions de sociétés que les techniques d’AMP posent à l’Afrique subsaharienne, tout en révélant la dimension internationale (et non exclusivement africaine) de ces questions ; faire connaître les expériences des personnes ayant recours aux techniques de l’AMP en Afrique subsaharienne et en situation migratoire ; faire valoir la nécessité de fédérer des études portant sur l’implantation de ces technologies dans les pays en développement.



Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is a biomedical procedure which requires a social, cultural and technical background to function, while also being a source of knowledge, technical know-how and specific organisational patterns. The development of ART in sub-Saharan Africa since the 1980s has been not been much the subject of attention from scientific circles and the media.  It is beneficial to consider its history to better weigh the conditions involved in the dissemination and appropriation of this technological and social innovation by those involved at social level (fertility physicians, biologists, patients, religious stakeholders). Using biotechnologies in fertility is also indicative of a reproduction model relying on the notion of wanting a child, a model supported by the middle class in contemporary Africa in a wider picture of reproductive health and women’s rights (empowerment of women in controlling their body, access to contraceptives, non-clandestine abortion and to health facilities caring for infertile couples). However, ART also brings to light inequalities of class, gender and race (as in South Africa), and in accessing information. To date, reproductive healthcare services are available in private clinics only, even if hospital physicians try to create low cost care facilities. Patients of these institutions represent the emerging middle class seeking health care of a quality that requires becoming part of international networks where new health care facilities are being set up.  Hence, in seeking ART treatment, their overall relationship to health and medical information has changed. In this context, they are willing to travel across Africa or even to Europe, turning to reproductive health departments in the Paris area, while the French medico-legal prerequisites for migrant women born in sub-Saharan Africa and living in Europe are felt to be far too stringent (age limit, anonymous oocyte donation).  In this case, the notion of biosociality is relevant, not so much to refer to mobilisation fields based on the common experience of a disease (as in the case of patients’ associations) but rather to capture the individual experiences of people who share the common experience of childbearing mediated by science and dependent on political power. The contributions to this conference also aim to reporting on “folk representations” of procreation. Does ART change the symbolic dimension of procreation and birth (role of ancestors and bush-spirits)? Are we confronted with a departure from tradition, or is there a linking up at play to local traditional knowledge, especially that of witchcraft which has a unique part in the interpretation of infertility within family relationships? In these kinds of social and cultural backgrounds, women are always blamed whereas their husbands, if infertile, are always protected by all social stakeholders, if not by their wives themselves in some cases. When resorting to ART, do men overcome their reluctance to admit their infertility, especially once it has been diagnosed? Are they willing to liberate themselves from a linage representation of fertility (and hence, of procreation) and to accept a rearrangement of transmission patterns in society and in men-women relationships?

We expect a ten lines abstract looking at infertility care in Africa in the context of AMP from diverse disciplines (anthropology, sociology, history, law,…). The subjects we are interested in are (list non exhaustive)

  • History and logics of AMP Development on the continent.
  • Experience of AMP and infertility
  • Technologies and Personhood: negotiation and articulation of knowledge and practices around AMP
  • AMP, a biosocial experiment?
  • Recognition of infertility and legitimacy of Women infertility in Africa

Submission guidelines

Abstract proposal are expected  (please do send your abstract to: amp.afrique@gmail.com)

before the 10th of September.

Acceptance of abstract will be notified from the 10th of October.

The conference will be held in University Paris-Descartes (Paris 5) in French and English on the 12th and 13th of December 2013.

No funds are available for travelling expenses.

Scientific committee

  • Doris Bonnet, Directrice de Recherches en anthropologie à l’IRD.
  • Michel Cot , Médecin épidémiologiste  à l'IRD.
  • Véronique Duchesne, Maître de Conférences en anthropologie à Paris-Descartes.
  • Viola Hörbst , Anthropologue, Coordinatrice de Recherches at the Institute for Social Anthropology and African Studies at University of Munich (Germany).
  • Odile Journet, Directrice de Recherches en anthropologie, CNRS.
  • Frédéric Le Marcis, Professeur à l’Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon.
  • Madjid Ihadjadene , Professeur en Sciences de l'information et de la communication, U. Paris 8, Haute Autorité de Santé
  • Luc Massou,  Maître de Conférences en Sciences de l’information et communication à l’Université de Lorraine.
  • E. Porqueres , Directeur d’études en anthropologie de la parenté, EHESS.
  • Emmanuelle Simon, Anthropologue, Ingénieure de Recherche au Centre de recherches sur les Médiations, Université de Lorraine
  • Brigitte Simonnot, Professeur en Sciences de l’information et communication à l’Université de Lorraine.
  • Irène Théry, Directrice de Recherches en sociologie du droit et de la famille, EHESS.


  • Université Paris Descartes - Amphithéatre Vulpian - 12 rue de l’école de médecine
    Paris, France (75006)


  • Tuesday, September 10, 2013


  • procréation médicalement assistée, infertilité, migrations, Afrique sub-saharienne


  • Doris BONNET
    courriel : doris [dot] bonnet [at] ird [dot] fr
  • Emmanuelle Simon
    courriel : emmanuelle [dot] simon [at] univ-lorraine [dot] fr

Information source

  • Doris BONNET
    courriel : doris [dot] bonnet [at] ird [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« The technologies of procreation in the South », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, July 11, 2013, https://doi.org/10.58079/nzr

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