Our US Team
Dr. Tober is a medical anthropologist who specializes on topics related to assisted reproduction, the commodification of the body, and what it means to be human in the biotech age. Her work has examined topics ranging from infertility and sperm and egg donation in the US and abroad investigating the perceptions and use of family planning among Afghan refugees and low income Iranians in Iran. Her current research on egg donors in the United States and Spain is funded by the National Science Foundation. Her research comparing decisions and experiences of people who donate their eggs and those who freeze their eggs for future use is funded by the UCSF Center of Excellence in Women's Health.
Her book, Romancing the Sperm: Shifting Biopolitics and the Making of Modern Families was published by Rutgers University Press in 2018. In addition to her current research on egg donation, she is also producing and directing documentary films on egg donation in the US and abroad.
Natalia Villegas, RN
Natalia is a Registered Nurse currently studying at UCSF to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from UC Davis in Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity. Before her nursing career, Natalia worked as a research assistant in marine ecology studying the genetic adaptations of sea grass. She later moved to working as a clinical research coordinator in genitourinary cancer. In this role, she managed multiple clinical trials that were investigating a variety of cutting-edge immunotherapies. As the supervisor of a sub-group of trials, she focused on understanding the effect of genetics on the efficacy of cancer therapies. Now as a nurse, Natalia is passionate about improving health equity for the Latinx community. She has a special interest in women’s health and hopes to make prenatal and postpartum care a central part of her clinical practice.
Dougie Zubizarreta, BA
Dougie is a Policy Analyst on the Egg Donor Research team. Dougie is a graduate student in Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. They received their BA in Sociology from Boston College. He has working proficiency in French and Spanish. Dougie has experience conducting quantitative and qualitative research, and his research interests include social and spatial epidemiology, social and structural determinants of health, sexual and reproductive health, and health disparities and inequities in LGBQ/T health.
Katarina is a third year undergraduate at UC Berkeley, studying Cell Biology, Data Science and Public Health. She is proficient in Spanish, and was raised in a German-speaking family. In addition to working on the OVADO Project team, she is also the Fertility Lab Technician for the Alta Bates IVF Program. Her exposure to the experiences underscoring the transfer of gametes both from the donor's end and the recipient's end has fueled her passion in exploring the ways that sociology, public health and biology intersect, especially when it comes to womxn's and anatomic females' health and well being. She aspires to attend medical school after graduation, and her direct work and research in assisted reproductive technology has sparked tentative interest in pursuing a career as an OBGYN.
Hui has had a long-standing career in assisted reproduction. Before joining the team, she worked as a program coordinator in a reputable surrogacy agency headquartered in Massachusetts. Her daily involvement with the egg donors, surrogates, and intended parents have given her in-depth understanding of the practice and technology of assisted reproduction, as well as the challenges fertility professionals face in managing and balancing the needs of donors, gestational surrogates and intended parents. As a trained and licensed medical interpreter and native Mandarin speaker, she has enjoyed rich experiences working in various medical settings with doctors and patients. She is currently studying Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Here, she was a research intern in the inter-racial marriage study sponsored by the UCB Sociology Department. In addition, she conducted independent research on Chinese birth tourism to the US as part of her 2020 McNair Scholars program. Her ultimate goal is to continue her studies and pursue a career as a researcher on assisted reproduction in the US and China.
Different spots around the globe emerge as primary destinations and locations for fertility treatment with donor eggs. Our team is comparing how egg donation operates in the United States and Spain, investigating how different regulations intersect with donors' decisions and experiences.This work is funded by The National Science Foundation. The project will run through July 2022.
Our Team in Spain
Consuelo Álvarez, PhD
Professor-Researcher of the Department of Social Anthropology of the Complutense University of Madrid (Spain). PhD from the Complutense University of Madrid in Social Anthropology. Professor of the subjects: Anthropology of Knowledge and Cultural Knowledge, Symbolic Anthropology, New Forms of Kinship and Family and Introduction to Social Anthropology. Professor at the University of Lisbon (ISCTE), the University of Buenos Aires and the University of Foggia. Her lines of research include ethnographic research in new contexts of procreation and reproductive technologies, kinship and new forms of family, sexual and reproductive health. Research Stays in Centro em Rede de Investigaçao em Antropologia de Portugal and in the Transcultural Study Group of Kinship attached to the Research Group in Fonamental and Oriented Anthropology of Barcelona. Member of the Anthropology Group of Social and Cultural Policies (APSYC), a consolidated research group of the UCM.
María Isabel Jociles Rubio, PhD
Dr. Rubio is currently a University Professor within the Department of Social Anthropology at the Complutense University of Madrid. She has investigated the processes of identity construction, festive rituals, risk strategies and HIV prevention of men who have sex with men and early retiree associations. In the field of kinship, she has studied the peasant domestic group, reconstituted families and single parenthood by choice and, in education, she has dealt with regulated VET, the schooling of immigrant-foreign students in ESO, as well as role played by intermediary institutions for international adoption in shaping parental roles. Her topics of interest are found in the socio-cultural problems in which the construction of subjectivity / collective identities, socio-educational processes and different family structures intersect.
Nancy Konvalinka, PhD
Is a Full Professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the Faculty of Philosophy at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), where she has been teaching since 2005. Her teaching focuses on courses in the Anthropology of Kinship and Family in undergraduate and graduate degrees. Her doctoral dissertation, which received the UNED Extraordinary Prize, analyzed the organization of kinship, gender relations, and family businesses in a village in León. Her later ethnographic research has dealt with issues of life course and late family formation, financed by a Wenner Gren Foundation Grant, a UNED grant, and an I+D research project from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity. She is presently researching the understandings of kinship revealed by the use of assisted human reproduction techniques and gestational surrogacy. This research is financed by a I+D project from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, in which she is co-PI, and by a grant from the National Science Foundation in the United States, in which she coordinates the research in Spain.
Clara Fernández de Bobadilla Muñoz
Clara is a PhD student at the Complutense University of Madrid, in the Sociology and Anthropology program. She has a BA in Social and Cultural Anthropology, and a MA in Advanced Studies in Social Anthropology. Clara has specialized in programming, genetic biology, education and cognitive sciences. She is currently working on her doctoral thesis conducting an ethnography at the Instituto Ramón y Cajal de Investigación Sanitaria (IRYCIS). Her research is situated at the intersection between the anthropology of knowledge, STS and digital studies. She researches the confluence between the production of knowledge from biology and computational tools and languages, focusing on digital/computational infrastructures affect the development of biological knowledge. In the OVADO project she is part of the UCM team, helping with the fieldwork and interviews, transcribing and analyzing the data obtained.
Rut Abad Mijarra
Rut has a degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology with a master's degree in advanced anthropology studies and a master's degree in development cooperation, in addition to other specialization courses in gender, migration and international relations. Some of her experience includes working on social intervention with un-homed people, people with serious and chronic mental illness, and minors in situations of risk and social vulnerability in Spain. She has international experience with groups of indigenous women in El Salvador and with people who are victims of anti-personnel mines in Cambodia. She has been a visiting scholar at the University of Guadalajara in Jalisco, at the Institute of Anthropological Research of the UNAM, Mexico and in Santiago de Chile. She has also worked in the private sector as a researcher in assisted reproduction among same sex couples and mothers via egg donation. This research resulted in the choral publication of a Guide to Good Practices for the care of female partners in assisted reproduction clinics. She is currently a research assistant in The OVADO project at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) and a PhD candidate in Sociology and Social Anthropology at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.