Rene Almeling

Rene Almeling's picture
Associate Professor of Sociology
Ph.D., Sociology, UCLA, 2008
B.A., Gender Studies and Religious Studies, Rice University, 1998
Areas of Interest: 
Gender; Health and Medicine; Reproduction; Genetics; Markets; Multiple Methods
493 College Street, Room 406
Phone number: 

Professor Almeling is on research leave for the 2019-2020 academic year. 

Rene Almeling is a sociologist at Yale University who specializes in research on gender and medicine. She is the author of Sex Cells, an award-winning book that offers an inside look at the American market for egg donors and sperm donors. Currently, she is writing a new book, Guynecology, on the history of medical knowledge-making about men’s reproduction and its consequences for individual men. She has also conducted two original surveys, the first on Americans’ attitudes toward genetic risk (with Shana Gadarian) and the other on women’s bodily experiences of IVF. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and her articles have appeared in American Sociological Review, Annual Review of Sociology, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and Gender & SocietyShe is a recipient of the Arthur Greer Memorial Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Research, one of Yale’s highest honors, and holds courtesy appointments in the Yale School of Medicine (Section of the History of Medicine), Yale School of Public Health (Department of Health Policy and Management), and American Studies. For more information, please visit


  • Almeling, Rene. Guynecology: Men, Medical Knowledge, and Reproduction. Under contract with University of California Press. 

Unimaginable until the twentieth century, the clinical practice of transferring eggs and sperm from body to body is now the basis of a bustling market. In Sex Cells, Rene Almeling provides an inside look at how egg agencies and sperm banks do business. Although both men and women are usually drawn to donation for financial reasons, Almeling finds that clinics encourage sperm donors to think of the payments as remuneration for an easy “job.” Women receive more money but are urged to regard egg donation in feminine terms, as the ultimate “gift” from one woman to another. Sex Cells shows how the gendered framing of paid donation, as either a job or a gift, not only influences the structure of the market, but also profoundly affects the individuals whose genetic material is being purchased.

Read the Introduction >>


If you do not have free access to any of the following publications, please email me for an electronic copy.

Courses and Seminars


  • SOCY 134b/WGSS 110b, Sex and Gender in Society
  • SOCY 311, Gender, Race, and Genetic Testing
  • SOCY 390/629, Politics of Reproduction


  • SOCY 523/WGSS 623b, Sociology of Sex and Gender



National & International


Follow me on Twitter @ralmeling.