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Gwendolen Burton

The World Health Organisation estimates that 25 per cent of couples 1 experience infertility, so there will be people in our community struggling with infertility now. In his book, And Hannah Wept , Gold defines infertility as: ‘not only the

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Thinking through Surrogacy Legislation in India

Reflections on Relational Consent and the Rights of Infertile Women

Maya Unnithan

As its main focus the article is concerned with explaining the proposed Indian Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) Bill 2010 (2008), and in particular discusses some of its limitations using a relational conception of consent and autonomy. It is argued that two major limitations arise from, firstly, the way the Bill attempts to introduce ‘universal’ notions of informed consent into a cultural context of socially determined decisionmaking, resulting in the failure to safeguard the welfare of Indian surrogates. A second limitation is that the proposed law entitles only some poor women (surrogates) in India to realise access to quality medical healthcare services compared to others (poor, infertile women). Given the significant class and gender based inequalities which frame reproductive healthcare service delivery in the country, legally guaranteed access to health services for surrogates becomes a privilege where the rights of some individuals and couples to reproduce and exercise procreative agency is valued and not others. The article argues that the Bill must give due consideration to the complex, relational and highly stratified contexts in which women undertake childbearing in India to understand why legally comprehensive consent procedures can co-exist with violations of personhood in practice. Without such consideration the article suggests that injustice toward infertile women can become part of the same legal process wherein overcoming infertility is recognised as a right.

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Childless Women in Georgia

Between Religious Restrictions and Medical Opportunities

Elene Gavashelishvili

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is gradually becoming available in Georgia, but while the medical technologies are being developed, the Georgian Orthodox Church opposes the idea of having a child through what it declares to be unnatural ways. Despite the authority of the Church, the Orthodox discourse about IVF is not directly incorporated into the everyday lives of people. Ethnographical observation has allowed an exploration of how childless women in Georgia reconcile modern reproductive technologies with their religion. In order to explain the hybridity in women’s attempts to make official religiosity better adapted to everyday life, I use the concept of bricolage as applied to the social practices of women who assemble different, seemingly disjointed, resources in coping with problematic situations.

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Soraya Tremayne

This article examines the interface between modernity and traditional cultural values. It suggests that Iranian society, in spite of its Islamic theocratic regime, is on one level an open society and has shown a surprising degree of flexibility in adapting to change. Yet on another level, Iran remains a closed society with strong cultural ties that act as unifying factors controlling the boundaries of interaction between the old and the new. One of the manifestations of the deep-rooted values that determine the form and extent of the acceptance of modernity is the consideration of one’s ‘face’ in public. ‘Face’ acts as a regulating agent directing the choices people make vis-à-vis societal change. The article concludes that social interactions and decisions taken by individuals in all public aspects of their lives, regardless of class, age, ethnic origins or gender, continue to be profoundly influenced by ‘face’.

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Islam, IVF and Everyday Life in the Middle East

The Making of Sunni versus Shi'ite Test-Tube Babies

Marcia C. Inhorn

In vitro fertilisation and even newer assisted reproductive technologies are part of everyday life in the contemporary Middle East. There, IVF is practised according to local Islamic norms, which have been reinforced by fatwas from lead- ing religious authorities. As this article will show, ideological differences between dominant Sunni and minority Shi’ite forms of Islam are currently shaping the practices of test-tube baby-making in the Muslim world, particularly regarding the use of third-party gamete donation and new technologies to overcome male infertility. Such divergences have led to gender transformations within infertile marriages in the Muslim Middle East, with potentially profound implications for women’s marital security and family formation.

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Reports

Books, Films and Conferences

Soraya Tremayne

BOOKS

Zyarah, Khaled (1997), Gulf Folk Arts, trans. by K. Bishtawi (Doha: Al-Ahleir Press). 63 Arabic pages and 58 English pages. Every chapter has a black and white picture.

Al Bagdadi, Khaled (2004), Hassan Al Mulla. e Memory of Man and Place (Doha: Doha Modern Printing Press). 184 pages, illustrated in colour. 10 pages of English text, trans. by Samar Al Hussein. Taha, Dr. Munir (2003), Qatar in Prehistoric Times (Doha: Antiquities and Museums Department). 144 pages, 4 maps, 46 pages illustrated heavily in col- our or black and white pictures and drawings.

FILMS

Sheikholeslami, Mahvash (2003), Murderer or Murdered, 26 minutes.

CONFERENCES

‘Gamete and Embryo Donation in Infertility Treatment’, 1–2 March 2006, Tehran, Iran

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Sachiko Hosoya

years, it is still hard to create their own family by marriage and having children with a healthy mate, which is the most preferable marriage choice from the viewpoint of genetic medicine. Firstly, infertility is common in people with thalassemia major

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Jackie Clarke, Melanie Kay Smith, Margret Jäger, Anne O’Connor and Robert Shepherd

a family by conceiving, being pregnant, and giving birth to a baby is a core value of North American society. Couples who are confronted with infertility suffer, and “hard work” is necessary to change the situation (28). The book is composed of five

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Introduction

Emerging Kinship in a Changing Middle East

Soraya Tremayne

assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), offering treatment for infertility, to the Middle East, these were received with open arms, where reproduction remains paramount. However, in the cases of countries where the use of third-party gamete donation was

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Marc Saperstein and Ruth Scott

; In memoriam. The writers do not flinch from tough subjects – illness, death, dementia, prejudice and discrimination of all kinds, infertility and injustice – for which easy answers simply will not do. Sheila Shulman’s anger, Julia Neuberger’s passion