Assistant Professor of Sociology
Rene Almeling's research and teaching interests are at the intersection of gender, medicine, and economics. Her book, Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm (University of California Press, 2011), received the Best Book Award from the Body and Embodiment Section of the American Sociological Association and the Diana Forsythe Prize from the American Anthropological Association. Currently, she is doing research on a variety of genetic and reproductive technologies, including a national survey of American's attitudes toward genetic risk (with Shana Gadarian), a mixed-method examination of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, and a survey of women's experiences with in vitro fertilization. In addition, she has started a new book project on the history of medical specialization. She received a B.A. in Gender Studies and Religious Studies from Rice University and a Ph.D. in Sociology from UCLA. Prior to joining the faculty at Yale, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley.
Almeling, Rene. (2011). Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm. University of California Press.
Unimaginable until the twentieth century, the clinical practice of transferring eggs and sperm from body to body is now the basis of a bustling market. In Sex Cells, Rene Almeling provides an inside look at how egg agencies and sperm banks do business. Although both men and women are usually drawn to donation for financial reasons, Almeling finds that clinics encourage sperm donors to think of the payments as remuneration for an easy "job." Women receive more money but are urged to regard egg donation in feminine terms, as the ultimate "gift" from one woman to another. Sex Cells shows how the gendered framing of paid donation, as either a job or a gift, not only influences the structure of the market, but also profoundly affects the individuals whose genetic material is being purchased.
(If you do not have free access to any of the following publications, please email me
- Almeling, Rene and Miranda Waggoner. 2013. “More and Less than Equal: How Men Figure in the Reproductive Equation.” Gender & Society (forthcoming)
- Almeling, Rene. 2009 “Gender and the Value of Bodily Goods: Commodification in Egg and Sperm Donation.” Law and Contemporary Problems 72: 37-58.
- Timmermans, Stefan and Rene Almeling. 2009 “Objectification, Standardization, and Commodification in Healthcare: A Conceptual Readjustment.” Social Science and Medicine 69: 21-27.
- Saguy, Abigail C. and Rene Almeling. 2008. “Fat in the Fire? Science, the News Media, and the 'Obesity Epidemic.'” Sociological Forum 23: 53-83.
- Almeling, Rene. 2007. “Selling Genes, Selling Gender: Egg Agencies, Sperm Banks, and the Medical Market in Genetic Material.” American Sociological Review 72: 319-340.
- Almeling, Rene. 2006. “Why do you want to be a donor?”: Gender and the Production of Altruism in Egg and Sperm Donation.” New Genetics and Society 25: 143-157.
- Almeling, Rene, Laureen Tews, and Susan Dudley. 2000. “Abortion Training in U.S. Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Programs, 1998.” Family Planning Perspectives 32: 268-271, 320.
Courses and Seminars
- SOCY523/WGSS 623b, Sociology of Sex and Gender
- The Center for Comparative Research (CCR)
- The Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course (CIQLE)
- Concentration in Gender and Sexuality Studies
- Institution for Social and Policy Studies
- Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Yale
- Yale Women Faculty Forum (WFF)