Publication details [#5946]

Hobbs, Pamela. 2007. Miracles of love: The use of metaphor in egg donor ads. Social Research: An International Quarterly 11 (1) : 24–52. 29 pp. URL


In recent years, the appearance of egg donor advertisements in American college newspapers, sometimes offering five- and six-figure fees to `genetically gifted' donors, has given rise to critical comment on both sides of the Atlantic, and has caused some to fear that the use of these procedures will eventually result in the creation of `designer babies' with preselected genetic qualities. Whether such fears will be realized depends, to a great extent, upon how both the participants themselves and society as a whole come to view and understand these procedures. This article explores emerging images of assisted reproduction through an analysis of the use of metaphor in egg donor ads that appeared in the student newspaper of the University of California, Los Angeles. I argue that the attitudes displayed in these ads result from a mapping of existing cultural stereotypes associated with biological parenthood, including the role of childbearing in marriage and 'coupledom', onto the assisted-reproduction process, and that these metaphors are used precisely because they construct this cultural model and adapt it to the new reality of the assisted-conception experience. (Pamela Hobbs)