Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Assisted reproductive technologies in Ghana: transnational undertakings, local practices and ‘more affordable’ IVF

Volume 2, June 2016, Pages 32–38
Symposium: IVF - Global Histories

Open Access

Under a Creative Commons license


The article sketches the origins and development of IVF in Ghana as a highly transnational undertaking. Movements are from and to Africa, involving human beings (providers and users), and also refer to other entities such as technologies, skills and knowledge. None of these movements are paid for using public money, neither are they subsidized by international health organizations. Currently, ‘more affordable’ IVF is being introduced into Ghana, on initiative of the first Association of Childless Couples of Ghana (ACCOG), in collaboration with the Belgium based non-profit organization the Walking Egg (tWE), representing another form of transnational networking. The article underlines the scarcity of well-trained embryologists in Ghana, which turns the embryologists’ expertise and skills into a scarce and precious commodity and guarantees this expertise becomes a major challenge for the directors of the private clinics. Next to local Ghanaian couples, the clinics also attend to transnational reproductive travellers, including women and men from neighbouring countries and Ghanaians in the diaspora returning to their country of origin. Their manifold motivations to cross borders and visit the IVF clinics in Ghana provide insight into the structural conditions impeding or facilitating the use of assisted reproductive technologies at different local sites. Transnational movements also include the flow of new procreation practices (such as surrogacy and the use of donor material), which (re-)shape existing cultural and societal notions regarding kinship and the importance of blood/genetic ties. Finally, the article lists a number of thematic and theoretical issues which require further exploration and studies.


  • embryologists;
  • Ghana;
  • 'more affordable' IVF;
  • third party involvement;
  • reproductive technology;
  • reproductive travel