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Motherhood and Infertility in Ireland
Motherhood and Infertility in Ireland

Our Price:39.00
Authors: Jill Allison
Affiliation: Global Health Coordinator Faculty of Medicine Memorial University of Newfoundland
Publication Year: Hardback November 2013
Pages: 272
Size: 234 x 156mm

ISBN: 9781782050032


This book explores the imagined and instrumental significance of motherhood, fertility and family in social and political life in contemporary Ireland. In the climate of change shaped in part by Ireland's economic and political place in Europe, values, norms and ideals are challenged and re-defined as people navigate new social terrain for many institutions, including the family.

Infertility stories show us how the once seamless connection between marriage, motherhood, sex and procreation is contested. Through the stories of women and men facing infertility, the book brings to life the forces that shape the idea of motherhood in Ireland and the way many women see themselves, not as victims of circumstance, but as agents and beneficiaries of changing social values and expectations.

The book also examines how religious, medical and state institutions employ the meanings of 'nature' and science in procreative endeavours in an effort to be the dominant voice in a conversation about an ongoing pronatalist politics. The use of reproductive technologies is discussed in relation to the historical and contemporary debates about reproductive choice. The dilemmas people face when using assisted reproduction technologies also highlight the complexity and contingency of the local morality in which reproductive politics operates in Ireland.

The book makes an important contribution to the story of change in Ireland as it represents the current cultural context in which people are making decisions about family building. It also contributes to the feminist literature on motherhood and reproductive choice in contemporary Ireland.

Average Rating: Average Rating: 5 of 5 5 of 5 Total Reviews: 2 Write a review »

  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Motherhood and Infertility in Ireland August 6, 2015
Reviewer: Dee Kelly Liverpool Hope University from UK  
This book provides a distinguished contribution to the ever-increasing body of academic literature addressing reproductive health and inequality. As opposed to focusing on presenting empirical data in isolation Allison begins to address the moral discourses surrounding fertility, exploring the social, institutional and political challenges posed by infertility treatment in Ireland. Essentially, this publication provides a comprehensive and contextualised analysis of the lived experience of infertility in Ireland.

This is invaluable reading for anyone studying this field, especially those interested in exploring the deep-rooted and intertwined influence imposed by the state and church on Irish society. The focus on the structural elements of oppression, as opposed to an individualistic analysis, allows the hetero-normative definition of family life in Ireland to be scrutinised. The struggle for equality and self-determination of reproductive rights for women has always been at the cutting edge of social change and it is a crucial component in the fight for equal rights across society as a whole. The significance of this book is that it re-asserts the need to engage more openly in public dialogue on the issue of fertility and infertility in Ireland and this analysis can, in turn, be employed to inform, influence and potentially reshape current political ambiguity. This book provides an important contribution to the field and I would thoroughly recommend it to students, practitioners and academics alike.

Review from Sociology of Health & Illness

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  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Motherhood and Infertility in Ireland January 21, 2015
Reviewer: Social History of Medicine from UK  
Motherhood and Infertility in Ireland provides a snapshot of culture amid the swelling tides of social change, demonstrating once again that reproductive technologies offer a lens through which scholars can examine nationhood, politics, economics, religion, law and science. The book (or select chapters) would be useful in any sociology or anthropology courses related to gender, reproduction, medicine, health, family, ethics, law and religion. It would also provide an eye-opening and much-needed introduction to the social study of medicine for students in medicine, nursing and social work.

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