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 & Society. She 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 www.renealmeling.com.
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- Almeling, Rene. Guynecology: Men, Medical Knowledge, and Reproduction. Under contract with University of California Press.
- Almeling, Rene. (2011). Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm. 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.
If you do not have free access to any of the following publications, please email me for an electronic copy.
- Almeling, Rene and Iris Willey. 2017. “Same Medicine, Different Reasons: Comparing Women’s Bodily Experiences of Producing Eggs for Pregnancy or for Profit.” Social Science and Medicine 188: 21-29.
- Andersson, Matthew A., Shana Kushner Gadarian, and Rene Almeling. 2017. “Does Educational Attainment Shape Reactions to Genetic Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease? Results from a National Survey Experiment.” Social Science and Medicine 180: 101-105.
- Almeling, Rene. 2015. “Reproduction.” Annual Review of Sociology. 41:423-442
- Almeling, Rene and Shana Gadarian. 2014. “Reacting to Genetic Risk: An Experimental Survey of Life between Health and Disease.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
- Almeling, Rene and Shana Gadarian. 2014. “Public Opinion on Policy Issues in Genetics and Genomics.” Genetics in Medicine (official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics). 16: 491-494.
- Almeling, Rene and Miranda Waggoner. 2013. “More and Less than Equal: How Men Figure in the Reproductive Equation.” Gender & Society 27:821-842.
- Almeling, Rene. 2009. “Gender and the Value of Bodily Goods: Commodification in Egg and Sperm Donation.” Law and Contemporary Problems 72: 37-58.
- Timmermans, Stefan and Rene Almeling. 2009. “Objectification, Standardization, and Commodification in Healthcare: A Conceptual Readjustment.” Social Science and Medicine 69: 21-27.
- Saguy, Abigail C. and Rene Almeling. 2008. “Fat in the Fire? Science, the News Media, and the ‘Obesity Epidemic.’” Sociological Forum 23: 53-83.
- Almeling, Rene. 2007. “Selling Genes, Selling Gender: Egg Agencies, Sperm Banks, and the Medical Market in Genetic Material.” American Sociological Review 72: 319-340.
- Almeling, Rene. 2006. “Why do you want to be a donor?”: Gender and the Production of Altruism in Egg and Sperm Donation.” New Genetics and Society 25: 143-157.
- Almeling, Rene, Laureen Tews, and Susan Dudley. 2000. “Abortion Training in U.S. Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Programs, 1998.” Family Planning Perspectives 32: 268-271, 320.
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
- Program in the History of Science and Medicine
- Global Health Initiative
- Urban Ethnography Project
- Franklin College
- The Center for Comparative Research (CCR)
- The Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course (CIQLE)
- Institution for Social and Policy Studies
- Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Yale
- Yale Women Faculty Forum (WFF)
National & International
- American Association for the History of Medicine
- American Sociological Association (ASA)
- Sociologists for Women in Society
Follow me on Twitter @ralmeling.
- Sarah Richardson and Rene Almeling, “The CDC risks its credibility with new pregnancy guidelines,” Boston Globe, February 8, 2016.
- Almeling, Rene, Joanna Radin and Sarah Richardson, “Egg-freezing a better deal for companies than for women,” CNN.com, October 20, 2014.
- Almeling, Rene. “The Unregulated Sperm Industry,” The New York Times, Sunday, December 1, 2013.