Social Issues Raised by New Reproductive Technologies

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Examine social issues raised by the use of the new reproductive technologies (eg artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilisation) by exploring the role that science and medical imagery play in medicalising women’s bodies.

* In Western societies birth ‘fear’ has been associated with pregnancy complications, increasing childbirth interventions, emergency and elective Caesarean Section (CS), postnatal depression (PND), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and impaired maternal–infant connection (Bewley & Cockburn, 2002; Johnson & Slade, 2002; Ryding, Persson, Onell, & Kvist, 2003). * The most recent Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths in the United Kingdom (2001) identified suicide as the leading cause of maternal death leaving no doubt that psychological morbidity in childbearing women is a significant and pressing issue in the developed world. * Universally the focus of most childbirth concerns is the well-being of the baby (Searle, 1996). Women commonly worry about the health of the unborn child and congenital abnormalities (Szeverenyi, Poka, Hetey, & Torok, 1998). Potential complications that may affect women’s own health and wellbeing are also rated as concerns (Fava, Grandi, & Michelacchi, 1990). It is also common for women to worry about the biological process of giving birth such as the process of labour, the pain of contractions and possible medical interventions (Melender, 2002b; Ryding, Wijma, & Wijma, 1997; Sjogren,1998). * Personal conditions are a reflection of women’s anxieties about maintaining a sense of personal control. In a study of 100 Scandinavian women identified as suffering intense childbirth fear, over 65% were worried about their performance in labour and their own body’s ability to birth (Saisto & Halmesmaki, 2003). These findings are confirmed by Soet, Brack, and Dilorio (2003) who reported that women commonly were fearful of not having the strength to cope with labour and birth, not...
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