Medical Cosmopolitanism in Global Dubai: A Twenty-first-century Transnational Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) Depot

Abstract

Dubai—one of the seven United Arab Emirates and the Middle East’s only “global city”—is gaining a reputation as a transnational medical tourism hub. Characterized by its “medical cosmopolitanism,” Dubai is now attracting medical travelers from around the world, some of whom are seeking assisted conception. Dubai is fast becoming known as a new transnational “reprohub” for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), the variant of in vitro fertilization designed to overcome male infertility. Based on ethnographic research conducted in one of the country’s most cosmopolitan clinics, this article explores the ICSI treatment quests of infertile men coming to Dubai from scores of other nations. The case of an infertile British-Moroccan man is highlighted to demonstrate why ICSI is a particularly compelling “masculine hope technology” for infertile Muslim men. Thus, Muslim men who face barriers to ICSI access in their home countries may become “reprotravelers” to Dubai, an emergent ICSI depot.

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