Diane Tober, PhD

is creating Documentary film, writing and research
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About Diane Tober, PhD

I am a medical anthropologist, author, and documentary filmmaker. My work broadly explores what it means to be human in the age of ever-expanding bio-technologies. My creative work is grounded in in-depth research, that raises complex social and ethical challenges. I am committed to bringing my anthropological research to the public--beyond the purely academic--through writing and documentary film. You can check out my work on my website, dianetober.com

For the past several years I have been conducting research on egg donors and the egg donation industry. After interviewing about 30 donors for my research, I knew I had to make a documentary film, so that women considering egg donation can have more information at their fingertips, to inform their decisions. While some women were overjoyed at their decisions to help other people become parents, others had deep regrets, and some experienced serious side effects related to their egg donations, that compromised their own health and fertility. Young women can be paid thousands of dollars for their eggs. But is egg donation safe?

My current film project, The Perfect Donor, explores how young, cash strapped women are recruited for the high-demand market for human eggs. This documentary explores cutting edge issues at intersections of science, technology, and the human consequences of turning people into products. While some egg donors are satisfied with their decision to help other people have children, others find that the money they were paid for their eggs comes at a greater cost.

The Perfect Donor is currently in post-production, and we are working to raise funds to finish editing, then marketing and distribution. This film is part of a much larger campaign to raise awareness about the impact of egg donation on women's lives. You can help support this work and join us on this journey to improve egg donation for everyone, and help give women the information they need to make informed decisions.

In addition to the film, I was also recently awarded a National Science Foundation research grant to compare egg donation in the United States and Spain--two countries with very different medical systems and approaches to regulating the fertility industry.

And finally, my book Romancing the Sperm: Shifting Biopolitics and the Making of Modern Families was just published by Rutgers University Press in November 2018. The book explores the intersections between the sperm banking industry, women who use donor sperm to create their families, and the men who provide sperm either for free or for pay. Drawing upon 25 years of fieldwork on assisted reproductive technologies, this is the first book to trace the history of how single women and lesbian couples accessed donor insemination from the 1990s to today.This book tells the personal stories of women attempting to have children on their own terms within the broader sociopolitical environment in which “modern families” are hotly debated.

As a Patreon Patron your contributions will support a woman (me!) with a passion for raising awareness about pressing social issues; someone who conducts and draws upon her in-depth research to inform, transform, and create positive change; and someone with persistence, integrity, and drive, to bring her projects to the world!

Join me on this journey.

Recent posts by Diane Tober, PhD

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