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Fertility

  • By: Lynn M. Harter & Jennifer J. Bute
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Individuals face different fertility issues across the life span and their experiences are shaped by demographic, interpersonal, and cultural factors. The 20th and 21st centuries have witnessed the development of an array of technological interventions seeking to control fertility from contraceptives to assisted reproductive technologies using donor ova or sperm and in vitro fertilization. Reproductive technologies challenge and transgress limits of the body and medicalize the condition of infertility. Scholars have explored how people communicate about (in)fertility, risk, and reproductive control across the life span and in different contexts.

Dominant social norms about fertility in the United States indicate a cultural preference for delayed sexuality and childbearing. Scholars have argued that the favored time for childbearing is closely connected with Western notions of the ideal life ...

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