– Simoglou, V., Garnault, D., (2015). Grossesses en temps de biomédicalisation : Les « emprunts » au corps de l’autre femme [Pregnancies in times of biomedicalization : « Loans » from another woman’s body]. Cliniques Méditerranéennes, Accepted.  

The techno-scientific developments within the medical field, shift the coordinates of motherhood, caught between norms, images and desire, in these times of biomedicalization. The authors present here two unique techniques and their psychic implications that place the practice of the “gift” at the heart of the female reproductive process. These can prove to question the assimilation of “products” – oocytes, uterus – circulating between several women, as well as the ambiguity and uncanniness inherent to this practice, by reference to the logic of the unconscious desire. Egg donation in vitro fertilization, questioned from the standpoint of a dual clinical practice in France and Greece, enables us to highlight the artifact that constitutes this gift doomed to fail, since it does not resolve infertility issues but merely acts as a palliative: the gift takes part in a make-believe process that confronts women to the limit of their psychic ressources. Whereas experimentation on uterus transplantation leads us to underline the unprecedented, for it is temporary, nature of this novel mode of female body supplementation, revealing a specific relationship to the frightening fantasy that pregnancy condenses, as an imaginary figuration of the enigma of the Other’s desire.

– Simoglou, V., (2015). Étude psychanalytique des échecs du don d’ovocytes [Psychoanalytic study of oocyte donation failures]. PhD Thesis, Doctoral School of Research in Psychoanalysis and Psychopathology, University Sorbonne Paris Cité, University Paris Diderot. 

Oocyte donation IVF is a type of feminine filiation characterized by the absence of a hereditary link to the child to be born and at the same time, by the presence of a link in the body. This psychoanalytic study questions its specificities from the viewpoint of infertile women, whenever technique fails. Through her clinical experience in a private ART Unit in Athens, the author puts into perspective the Greek protocol of donating “borrowed” or « foreign” oocytes, with the French protocol of “cross donation” such that she observed it in a Centre for Egg and Sperm Conservation in Paris. The issues that emerge from confronting these two protocols shed light on oocyte donation in general. Alongside the recurring themes of exchange and debt, “too late”, secret, and reparation through pregnancy, within the context of neoliberal Bioeconomy, this gift turns out to be impossible to admit, since the lack it aims at is a lack of being: the author maintains that it fails when a woman can not conceive its limit identifying it to an object. The results of this research lead to confirm the existence of a specific gift related to the alienation of the demand having initiated it, and which installs the subject in a mirage whereby her relationship to time, debt and castration is denied. If oocyte donation appears as a gift in response to a desire for a child that confronts a woman to her own foreignness and death, the psychoanalytic theory of the gift the author suggests, brings out the object a of the gift as the object given in every gift whereby is marked its failure.

– Simoglou, V. (2015). On love and melancholia in Marguerite Duras’s autofiction. The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 84(3) 719-744,

In the Durassian melancholic atmosphere, past and present, fantasy and reality come together as one. This paper addresses the themes of love and destruction in Marguerite Duras’s life that pervade her oeuvre, allowing us to discern a melancholic structure within her autofiction. Writing down her melancholia—the impossible mourning of a loved object—Duras captures nothingness and loss—in order not to die of love. In a constant exchange with her readers, she searches for herself and delivers herself to her readers. This renewable creative process of writing enables her to engage in an ongoing experience of identity reconstruction, in a way similar to the patient in psychoanalysis re-creating his/her life’s fiction.

– Squires, C., Lalanne, C., Murday, N., Simoglou, V. &  Vaivre-Douret, L., (2014). The influence of eating disorders on mothers’ sensitivity and adaptation during feeding: A longitudinal observational study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth14:274,


Parents with past and current eating disorders (ED) have been shown to report troubles nourishing their infants. This could increase the risk of infant feeding problems linked to maternal anxiety and depression. It is not clear how mothers’ eating difficulties before pregnancy and at the time of birth can affect infant’s feeding. We aimed to specify the impact of eating disorders on mothers’ adaptation and sensitivity to their offspring during feeding, by comparing a population of mothers with eating disorders and controls.


Twenty-eight women agreed to participate in interviews and filmed mother-baby interactions. Pregnant women consulting at an obstetric unit for care follow-up were screened and tested for symptoms of eating disorders with the EDE-Q Questionnaire (Eating Disorders Examination Questionnaire) and the EDE Interview (Eating Disorders Examination Interview). Infant functional troubles and mothers’ sensitivity were investigated through the Symptom Check List. Reciprocal adaptation during feeding with their new-borns was filmed and analysed with the Chatoor Infant Feeding Scale. Before pregnancy, two women suffered from anorexia, three suffered from bulimia, three had binge eating symptoms and two were diagnosed with EDNOS (Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified).


Mothers suffering from ED tended to show more difficult interactive patterns in terms of dyadic reciprocity when feeding their babies compared with mothers with no symptoms of eating disorders. In the interviews, other than the behavioural data gathered, ED mothers expressed feeling more dissatisfaction and uneasiness during feeding.


Pregnancy seems to be an useful period for interviewing women on eating disorders, allowing for the design and implementation of prevention programmes based on mothers’ narratives and infant/mother observations and treatment.

– Simoglou, V. (2013). De la Grèce en France et au-delà : Quelles ‘politiques’ pour le don d’ovocytes ? [From Greece to France and beyond: What « politics » for egg donation?] Champ psychosomatique, 64, 37-52,

This article first examines the question of oocyte donation and its potential abuses, both from a subjective and collective point of view, before going on to raise the related question of explicit and implicit commoditization of the body. A number of discrepancies exist across Europe concerning the legal framework of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). The rise of reproductive tourism and a comparative analysis of the specificities of the French and Greek paradigms shed light on the social and unconscious stakes at play in oocyte donation. The obligation for donations to be entirely without remuneration and exclusively carried out on a voluntary basis are examined from the standpoint of paired donation and compensated donation, as is the question of oocyte donation which preserves fertility for the donor. Does each individual country have its own ‘policies’ for gamete donation and if so, how do individual subjects subscribe to such policies ?

– Simoglou, V. (2013). The pain of egg donation. The Open Pain Journal, 7 (Supplement 1: M4), 41-45,

Contemporary body practices providing an answer to the subjects’ demand for assisted reproduction procedures, question the subjective experience of pain. The psychoanalytic approach of pain introduces the dimension of the unconscious in bodily experiences. Clinical field work and psychoanalytic psychotherapy with an infertile woman after failed egg-donation in vitro fertilization cycles, allows an understanding of psychic pain as analogous to somatic pain and considers the human body as a psychosomatic entity. In this case study, pain becomes a vector of subjectivation, allowing for the subject to negotiate acceptance of a gift impossible to receive.

– Squires, C., Simoglou, V., (2013). Psychic aspects of the parents’ project to conceive a second child by donor insemination. Fertility and Sterility, 3(100) S417,

Analyze narratives of parents intending to conceive a second child by donor insemination, with reference to their infertility history, the course of the first donation and the child’s affiliation, aiming at a sounder grasp of conscious and unconscious aspects of sperm donation procedures.

– Simoglou, V. (2012). Failures in egg-donor IVF or a locus for subjectivity:  A review of contemporary literature on female infertility in egg-donor IVF procedures. Recherches en psychanalyse, 13, 60-72,

Bringing about a split in the very concept of “mother”, egg donation IVF  signals a mode of female kinship marked by the absence of a hereditary link to the child and at the same time, by the presence of an in-body bond. Often termed “borrowed” or “foreign”, the donated eggs fertilized by the partner’s sperm become inconceivable, attempt after attempt. Identifying the subjective effects of this particular ART method in contemporary literature allows us to examine the non-occurrence of pregnancy as a mode by which a shattered subjectivity is restored.

The Ego is not master in its own house.

S. Freud


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