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"A model of what interdisciplinary intelligence can accomplish. Across several fields Biological Relatives shows how specific platforms or tools in the history of reproduction, kinship, and gender have provided discursive liftoff for further sites of knowledge and exploration. One of the strengths of this gripping account lies in that specificity, beginning with the iconic IVF and its epistemic work: a brilliant and exhilarating reprise of what we thought we knew, but now know differently."—Marilyn Strathern, University of Cambridge
"Hurtled with eggs, sperm, embryos, technicians, scientists, photographers, and critters of many species, including humans, we are all redone by the histories and practices of IVF. Sarah Franklin makes vivid how IVF is a kin-making, person-making, and world-making engine, one that refabricates the facts of life into bundles of kin and bundles of kin into facts of life. No wonder I read Biological Relatives as a fabulous work of SF in all its tones—string figures, speculative fabulation, science fact. Because Franklin's multigeneric gifts are generous, my debts are large."—Donna Haraway, University of California, Santa Cruz
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Thirty-five years after its initial success as a form of technologically assisted human reproduction, and five million miracle babies later, in vitro fertilization (IVF) has become a routine procedure worldwide. In Biological Relatives, Sarah Franklin explores how the normalization of IVF has changed how both technology and biology are understood. Drawing on anthropology, feminist theory, and science studies, Franklin charts the evolution of IVF from an experimental research technique into a global technological platform used for a wide variety of applications, including genetic diagnosis, livestock breeding, cloning, and stem cell research. She contends that despite its ubiquity, IVF remains a highly paradoxical technology that confirms the relative and contingent nature of biology while creating new biological relatives. Using IVF as a lens, Franklin presents a bold and lucid thesis linking technologies of gender and sex to reproductive biomedicine, contemporary bioinnovation, and the future of kinship.