The Stork and the Syringe

The Stork and the Syringe : Political History of Reproductive Medicine

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Studying the recent history of infertility and the different ways medicine has treated it. This is a major contribution to the history and sociology of reproduction, fertility, population and medicine.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 250 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.1 x 19.8mm | 367.42g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Annotated
  • 0745611877
  • 9780745611877

Back cover copy

Reproductive technology is typically discussed in the future tense.Yet doctors have always treated involuntary childlessness. Thisbook looks at the recent history of infertility and the differentways medicine has treated it. It traces the reluctance to allowinfertility a past to a new tension that has emerged betweenutopian and anti-utopian fears about the growth rate andcomposition of population.

The Stork and the Syringe argues that although doctors'approach to infertility is formed in response to the exigencies ofthe political economy of medical practice, it also accommodates apersistent gender bias: the tendency to regard women's bodies asinviting intervention and men's as demanding caution. This bias ismanifest in relation to gametes (eggs and sperm), sex hormones, inthe form of medical investigations and treatment, and the frequencyand enthusiasm with which the latter are carried out. Departuresfrom this theme are rare and controversial, as the history ofartificial insemination using donor semen demonstrates.

This book is a major contribution to the history and sociologyof reproduction, fertility, population and medicine.
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Table of contents

Introduction. 1. Talking about Infertility. 2. Norms and Deviations. 3. Images of Sterility. 4. Politics, Health and Sterility. 5. A Crutch in the Crotch. 6. Bank Accounts and Babies. Notes.
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Review quote

a Is a highly readable book, appealing to the general reader and essential for specialists in reproductive history.a Open Letters Bookclub a The Stork and the Syringe is an important contribution to the sociological and historical literature on women and reproduction.a Canadian Womena s Studies a Pfeffera s book is not only timely and invaluable for the current debates on the morality and efficacy of reproductive technology, but also provides a stimulating and provocative account for anyone interested in the wider history of the interaction between medicine, economics, politics and gender.a Medical History a Pfeffera s work greatly informs this debate. It shows how we have progressed beyond believing that women are under an obligation to have babies. It raises the question of whether we believe that they have the right, irrespective of costs, and despite any ethical and legal objections, to have them.a British Medical Journal a ... She offers much food for serious thought not least about the distortions and inequity in the poor NHS provision of infertility treatments ...a Multiple Births Foundation Newsletter a Uncovering some of the myths that have grown up around infertility is an important task lucidly and interestingly carried out by Naomi Pfeffer. Throughout this thoroughly annotated, but readable, account Pfeffer considers not only the attitudes of the medical profession, but also those of the political and religious establishments, and the financial implications.a Bulletin of Medical Ethics
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About Naomi Pfeffer

Naomi Pfeffer writes about history and social policy. She has a long--standing interest in womena s experience of infertility and the politics of reproductive medicine, and has written extensively on the subject. She was the co--author of The Experience of Infertility, written with Anne Woollett.
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