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Revisiting "her" infertility: medicalized embodiment, self-identification and distress

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>09/2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Social Science and Medicine
Issue number5
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)883-891
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date17/05/12
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Prior research emphasizes women's distress and responsibility for a couple's infertility because of gendered, pronatalist norms. Yet some studies suggest that being personally diagnosed and/or undergoing treatment differentially shapes reactions. We focused on differences in women's experiences with diagnosis and treatment, conceptualized as the medicalized embodiment of infertility. Using regression analysis, we examined two psychosocial outcomes (self-identification as infertile and fertility-specific distress) in a sample of 496 heterosexual, U.S. women from the National Survey of Fertility Barriers. Medicalized embodiment was salient to women's reactions, but had different relationships to self-identification versus distress. Although women experienced distress regardless of type of diagnosis, they were generally less likely to self-identify as infertile unless personally diagnosed. As such, we cannot assume that all women universally experience infertility. Future research should also address self-identification and distress as separate as opposed to simultaneous psychosocial outcomes.

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Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.