Biomedical technology and assisted reproduction: ‘promises’ and conceptualizations in printed and electronic advertisement of assisted reproductioncenters
This project investigated a) the link between conceptualizations of biomedical technology and human health; assisted reproduction in particular b) conceptualizations of health, disease, fertility, motherhood, fatherhood by persons directly involved in assisted reproduction (health care professionals and sub-fertile couples) and c) issues related to the phenomenon of the so-called "reproductive tourism". Particular emphasis was placed on the existing legislative framework and the limits of its application. Extended literature review was used to provide theoretical support for the research. Content analysis was used in the analysis of the first page of web sites of 35 private Assisted Reproduction Centers (IVF Centers) operating in Greece. Content analysis was further used for the analysis of postings in a discussion forum explicitly focusing on infertility issues. Specifically, through the analysis of IVF Centers’ web pages the way biotechnological applications define the concepts of health and illness in the content of visual representations of the (reproductively assisted) female body and embryos was assessed. Furthermore, based on the same material the way issues related to the phenomenon of ‘’reproductive tourism” are presented, advertised and promoted by the IFV Centers was addressed. Data were further analyzed in light of the relevant legislative framework and the lack of supervising bodies in Greece. In order to address the way subfertile couples give meaning and relate to issues of infertility, motherhood, fatherhood and family the postings of the above mentioned discussion forum were analyzed. Specifically, a total of 298 publically accessible thematic discussions for the period 28/3/2008-10/9/2012 were analyzed. The main focal point of the analysis related to the way members of the forum (almost exclusively women) understand and experience their bodies and their interactions with health care providers and the health care system. Findings of this project were presented in a number of conferences.