Inconceivable Conceptions: Psychological Aspects of Infertility and Reproductive Technology

Inconceivable Conceptions: Psychological Aspects of Infertility and Reproductive Technology

Inconceivable Conceptions: Psychological Aspects of Infertility and Reproductive Technology

Inconceivable Conceptions: Psychological Aspects of Infertility and Reproductive Technology

Synopsis

A distinguished range of contributors examine the experience of infertility from both male & female perspectives, the pyschological aspects of infertility diagnosis & treatment, & the often radical & unexpected effects on kinship. They aim to unravel the implications of new reproductive technologies.

Excerpt

Each advance in assisted reproductive technology (ART) raises the question of whether scientific knowledge alone provides an adequate basis for understanding our fertility and its vicissitudes. The issues which emerge from ourselves as fertile/infertile beings have arguably not become simpler through 'miraculous' and expensive procedures on offer from infertility clinics, but yet more complex. The contributors to this book ask whether experiences of infertility can be advanced by the scientific refinement of techniques which take place in the laboratory, and whether identifying infertility as primarily a medical problem remains the best way forward. They highlight the interface between the medical and the experiential and also the borderland where fertility and infertility cannot readily be differentiated. The diverse approach of the contributors opens up a dialectic between the scientific knowledge of clinical practitioners and the multilayered psychology of a complex human experience that we label infertility.

Unlike other books on the subject of infertility this book has been written from multiple perspectives. Its authors come from the disciplines of medicine, psychotherapy, anthropology, literature and from the public. The editors, both of whom are psychotherapists, were drawn to the psychology of ART when they found that a new category of patients was consulting them. These were men and women who, in addition to dealing with the traumas of infertility, were now faced with the confusion of all the complex issues associated with ART. The multiplicity of these procedures, and the dilemmas and choices associated with them, can exacerbate areas of anxiety about an individual's failure to reproduce. Within the last twenty years there have been such radical advances in reproductive technology that a couple who experience difficulties in conceiving are now confronted by a vast area of choices and associated dilemmas which may preoccupy them for the remainder of their reproductive lives. Before the advent of the birth pill most women were more concerned about an unwanted pregnancy and the terrors of back street abortions than they were with fears about their fertility. With the medicalisation of reproduction some people have more intense experiences of loss and ambivalence about issues concerning their fertility. It is now accepted that 15 per cent of couples who want to have a child will seek specialised advice from a fertility clinic. Statistics also indicate that one in eighty babies is born as a result of ART.

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