During the month of May, the beautiful Aegean island of Lesbos became the inimitable location of a large conference on the Anthropological and Legal Challenges of Assisted Reproduction Technologies. Social science researchers from all over Europe, including UK, Greece, Poland, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Cyprus, Italy, and Switzerland, committed to three days of in-depth discussions about the (in)fertile citizens of Europe.
In between the thought-provoking conference sessions, we were all hosted magnificently by Venetia Kantsa (Principal Investigator of the (in)FERCIT project) and her whole team. Delights included trips down to the seaside, as well as up to the tavern for lunch overlooking olive trees beneath. The convivial atmosphere and the natural beauty of the island created a stunning backdrop to our discussions and deliberations.
Over the course of three days, many aspects of infertility and assisted reproduction were highlighted, paying particular attention to intra-European differences and similarities. Presenters focused variously on reproductive governance, moral dilemmas, embodied experiences of ARTs, kinship, gender, sexuality, and transnational repromobilities. Empirical data from various locations served to expand our collective understandings of both how differently ARTs can be regulated and practiced in different locations, but also how similarly they may nevertheless be experienced by those undergoing them.
All in all, this was not only one of the best organised conferences in terms of the number and breadth of European researchers that were brought together, but it was undoubtedly one of the most fun. We capped the conference with a wonderful cocktail evening at Venetia’s house, with stunning views of the Mediterranean, and wore our best red dresses in honour of the occasion.