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Discourses of Health and Illness in Accounts of IVF Failure

Throsby, Karen (2003) Discourses of Health and Illness in Accounts of IVF Failure. In: Narrative, Memory and Health. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 59-65.

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      When in vitro fertilisation (IVF) fails, there are few socially and culturally
      intelligible resources available with which to make sense of those experiences
      other than tragic stories of despair and interminable lack. This paper argues
      that those for whom treatment fails occupy an ambiguous liminal location
      between dominant stories, and that they have to draw strategically from often
      contradictory discursive resources in order to make sense of those experiences
      in a way which minimises the significance of their reproductive difference and
      produces belonging. Based on a series of interviews with women and couples
      who had IVF unsuccessfully and ended treatment, this paper explores the ways
      in which the participants mobilised discourses of health and illness in order to
      make sense of those experiences both to themselves and others. The analysis
      illustrates the extent to which reproductive normativity produces a burden of
      justificatory discursive labour for those for whom treatment fails, and
      highlights the seemingly intractable association of healthy femininity with
      motherhood. However, this discursive work also exposes the dynamic and
      provisional nature of the apparently static categories of health and illness,
      opening up possibilities for transformation in power relations.

      Item Type: Book Chapter
      Additional Information: Copyright for chapters remain with individual authors at all times and permission should be sought from the author for any reproduction other than for personal use.
      Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
      H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
      B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
      Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences > Narrative and Memory Research Group > Narrative and Memory Research Group Annual Conference
      School of Human and Health Sciences
      Related URLs:
      Depositing User: Cherry Edmunds
      Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2009 16:34
      Last Modified: 30 Jul 2010 14:18


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