Brock University

Globalization and new forms of Body Exploitation / Mondialisation et nouvelles forms d'exploitation du corps

For the past 15 years, following the development of different technologies (e.g. genome sequencing), therapies (e.g. regenerative medicine) and new needs (e.g. mothers giving birth in their 40’s and 50’s, and private and national cell banks), the social demand for human cells has been increasing. We are now facing the so-called “capitalization of life”. But what does this “biocapitalization” of the human body mean? Is the body turning into an endless source of cells from which we can speculate upon? What kind of new “cell-based economies” are emerging? What kind of issues regarding this new economy take place more particularly in Québec, one of the national leaders in regenerative medicine? These are some of the questions that this session aims at discussing.

La médecine régénératrice, le séquençage du génome humain, le phénomène des mères « âgées » ou encore les banques privées et nationales de cellules mettent en évidence l’importance croissante des cellules humaines (ex. cellules souches) et du génome dans les biotechnologies. Nous trouvons-nous face à une « biocapitalisation » du corps humain? L’individu se voit-il réduit à une source de matière première sur laquelle on peut capitaliser ? Quelles nouvelles formes d’économies se développent autour des cellules et tout particulièrement au Québec, un des leaders nationaux en médecine régénératrice? Ceux sont quelques unes des questions sur lesquelles se penchera ce panel.

Session Organizer: Daphne Esquivel Sada, University of Montreal, ; Didier Fayon, University of Montreal, ; Mathieu Noury, University of Montreal,


Technological Innovation and Research in Regenerative Medicine

Didier Fayon, University of Montreal,

The presentation discusses the idea of technological innovation for research in regenerative medicine in Canada. While this potentially new therapy is publicly funded and at an early stage of the understanding of cellular processes, the analysis shows that it is already concerned with the marketing of the scientific work. This raises questions about how public laboratories framed by an economic conception of science and technology carry speculation and lead to a technological oriented production of knowledge. This discussion is grounded on a field work as well as on the recent theoretical thinking of sociologists and anthropologists of science and technology.


Making babies: ART and gamete markets across Canada

Kathleen (Katie) Hammond, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge,

Development of assistive reproductive technologies (ARTs) such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) has led to growing medical service markets, and markets for embryos, gametes and surrogates. Data from the Canadian ART Register (2003, 2006 and 2007) demonstrates rising use of the technologies, and the opening of more ART centres in Canada. This paper examines the ART service market and resulting egg (or oocyte) donor market in Canada, regulated primarily through the Canadian Assisted Human Reproduction Act, 2004. As one of few provinces that provide IVF funding for its residents, and the only province to provide funding towards donor eggs, Quebec occupies a unique space in this economy, in effect, legitimizing this market. With reference to interviews with Canadian egg donors, intended parents, and fertility specialists, this papers looks to the primary issues raised by IVF and egg donor markets, and how they affect those involved. It focuses on those issues particular to Quebec, and how they differ, in some cases, from the rest of Canada. This paper highlights concerns including physical and psychological risks for donors and intended parents, as well as monetary coercion, and conflicts of interests on the part of clinicians.


The Globalization of Clinical Trials : The Case of the Nanomedicine

Mathieu Noury, University of Montreal,

The globalization of clinical trials is an important dynamic at the center of the biomedical innovation. This dynamic has important sociological consequences. It contributes to produce what I call bio-exploitation and bio-inequality. My communication aims to present those two disturbing aspects of the globalization of clinical trials from the case the nanomedical innovations.


© Canadian Sociological Association ⁄ La Société canadienne de sociologie