Conceptions and Misconceptions: Social representations of medically assisted reproduction

Iain Walker, Pia Broderick, Helen Correia

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Infertility and its treatment is a social issue in most Western countries. As many as one couple in seven will have difficulty becoming pregnant when they want to. Medical interventions to assist reproduction have developed rapidly over the last four decades so that it is now possible for many couples to become pregnant when once they would have remained childless. Many such interventions rely on the use of donated sperm, eggs, or embryos. Along with the rapid development of new medical technologies, there is now a sizable industry of counselors working in the area (Burns 1993; Daniels 1993), and legislation and policy to control the fertility industry exist in many states and countries, including Australia (Broderick 2005a, 2005b). Academics have turned their attentions to studies of the stresses experienced by people undergoing medically assisted reproductive technology (MART) procedures (for example, Edelman, Connolly, and Bartlett 1994; Wasser 1994), of the wisdom of telling a child of the circumstances of its conception (for example, Broderick and Walker 1995; Daniels and Taylor 1993; Savage 1995), and of the gender politics involved (for example, Abbey, Andrews, and Halman 1991; Haimes 1993). MART technologies, perhaps especially when they involve donated gametes and embryos, raise many psychological, social, legal, ethical, and political dilemmas. Infertility and the technologies used to overcome it are public issues as well as private concerns
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Representations and Identity
Subtitle of host publicationContent, Process, and Power
EditorsGail Moloney, Iain Walker
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780230609181
ISBN (Print)9781349538294
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


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