© 2016 Natalia Kotova
2016 – №1 (11)
Key words: IVF, infertility, assisted reproductive technologies (ART), motherhood, stigmatization, infertility, surrogate motherhood, procreation, pro-natalism, femininity, masculinity.
In recent decades, assistive reproductive technologies (ART) have spread in Turkey, leading to wide discussions of this topic in social space. The popularity and complexity of such phenomena as IVF (in vitro fertilization) in contemporary Turkey have become a reason for anthropological study “Achieving Procreation. Childlessness and IVF in Turkey”. The author of the monograph is an anthropologist of Turkish origin Merve Demircioglu Goknar. This book was published in 2015 in a series of monographs under the general title “Fertility, reproduction and sexuality”, Vol. 29, by Berghahn Books, New York, Oxford, edited by a research team of anthropologists at Yale University and the University of Oxford.
During the study, the author managed to plunge into the world of emotional experiences of women forced to resort to reproductive technologies as the last hope for motherhood. An important merit of the research is addressing social and gender issues related to infertility experiences. The social stigmatization of women who have reproductive problems makes their life unbearable, cuts regular social ties, leads to social isolation. Stereotypical gender views on male identity serve as an instrument of psychological pressure that calls into question their masculinity. The intra-gender relationships of infertile women with their close circle of friends and relatives, especially with their mother-in-laws and wives of husband’s brothers, are often of conflict nature and appear to be a stressful factor encouraging women to turn desperately to assisted reproductive technologies, because a child enhances their social status and normalizes social ties. The author of the study concludes that infertility is not only a personal frustration, but also a social challenge that women face in their everyday lives, a source of stress and stigma of inferiority, disruption of social ties.
The subject of the study are experiences of women who have issues with fertility; while the main focus is the social relationships of these women with their environment. The study examines how social ties affect the lives of childless women in marriage, the attitudes of society towards childbearing and assisted reproductive technologies. To fulfil this task, the topic of infertility is studied in various contexts: from religious discourse to conflicts in extended families.
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