Risa Cromer

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Purdue U.

Grant number

Gr. 9877

Approve Date

October 9, 2019

Project Title

Cromer, Risa (Purdue U.) "Ex Utero: Frozen Embryo Politics in the United States"

RISA CROMER, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, received a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship to aid research and writing on “Ex Utero: Frozen Embryo Politics in the United States.” This fellowship supported development of a book manuscript draft for initial review with a university press. Conceiving Christian America: Embryo Adoption and Reproductive Politics of Saving is based on ethnographic research spanning 2008-2018 and will be published in the Anthropologies of American Medicine series with NYU Press in Fall 2023. This book examines how the U.S. Christian Right advances nationalist ambitions by strategically interfacing with assisted reproduction through the practice of embryo adoption. At the turn of the twenty-first century, when a countless number of human embryos created using in vitro fertilization and frozen in fertility clinic freezers became the subject debate focused on one question’what should happen with them? ‘a group of white pro-life evangelical Christians developed embryo adoption as a proposed solution that ‘saves’ embryos. Embryo adoption is a family-making practice that facilitates the donation of unused embryos through an adoption-like process to recipients who plan to gestate and parent any children born. This book provides the first ethnographic look inside the practice and reveals its connection to a powerful social movement aimed at transforming the nation’s moral order. Rooted in feminist anthropology, it draws critical attention to the seductions and harms of white saviorism that animate embryo adoption and argues why and how saviorism ought to be a topic of more sustained anthropological concern. In tracing how embryo adoption became part of the religious right-wing’s political playbook for conceiving a Christian nation, it provides timely insights into what lies behind polarizations of the contemporary political moment and broadens considerations of how U.S. reproductive politics shape global geopolitics.