Author Jennings, Patricia K
Article Title “God Had Something Else in Mind” : family, Religion, and Infertility
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Source Journal of contemporary ethnography. vol. 39, no. 2 (Apr. 2010), p. 215-237
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Call number Article
Journal Title Journal of contemporary ethnography.
Copy vol. 39, no. 2 (Apr. 2010), p. 215-237
ISSN 08912416
Brief substance Feminist scholarship has generated a large body of work that reveals that medical discourse encourages infertile women to embrace assisted reproductive technologies (ART) as a path to “normative” family formation. The role that religion plays in the decision-making process is absent from this body of scholarship. This study is part of a larger study on infertility. In this article, I explore how infertile women who profess some religious affinity utilize medicine and religion to achieve their reproductive goals. Findings, which are drawn from participant observation of RESOLVE meetings and face-to-face interviews with infertile women, suggest that religion intersects with gender in complex ways. For many of the women in this study, growing up in traditional “church-going” families coupled with their continued connection to mainstream religion reaffirmed their desire for a child-centered family. Most of the women in this study pursued some form of ART. This held even for those who affiliated with religions that opposed ART (e.g., the Catholic Church). When ART failed, some women drew on religious discourse to renegotiate their views on adoption. For a small number of women, religious experience moved them to adopt “hard to adopt” children. I draw on these findings to suggest strategies for future research on religion and infertility
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