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Living DataMaking Sense of Health Bio-Sensing$
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Maggie Mort, Celia Roberts, and Adrian Mackenzie

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781447348665

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447348665.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 20 May 2022

Fertility Biosensing

Fertility Biosensing

(p.33) 1 Fertility Biosensing
Living Data

Celia Roberts

Adrian Mackenzie

Maggie Mort

Theresa Atkinson

Mette Kragh-Furbo

Joann Wilkinson

Policy Press

Fertility- and hormonal- biosensing are becoming increasingly widespread across the global North. Multiple devices and apps, and their associated platforms, are used to track menstruation and ovulation, to measure sperm count, and to monitor hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, menopause and gender transition. Such practices are, we argue, changing the way users - and arguably many non-users - experience their bodies, their sexualities and their sex/gender. The relevant platforms collect and collate data from millions of devices, producing, in some cases, very large data sets about particular bodily events across huge numbers of users. This data has commercial value and is of interest to a wide variety of researchers. Whilst the practices of fertility- and hormonal-biosensing may increase users’ understanding of their bodies and thus resonate with feminist discourses on the significance of self-knowledge, we show in this chapter that they do not typically effect (let alone contest) conventional biomedical or scientific knowledge or practices. Fertility and hormonal-biosensing practices, we argue, remain quite limited as vectors of social change because of their conventional understandings of bodies and their failure to engage with the politics of platformisation.

Keywords:   fertility, sex hormones, reproduction, biosensing, menstruation, feminism, platformisation, bodies

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