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.

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.

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