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© 2017

The Palgrave Handbook of Infertility in History

Approaches, Contexts and Perspectives

  • Gayle Davis
  • Tracey Loughran

Benefits

  • Reflects on and interrogates different approaches to the history of infertility, including the potential of cross-disciplinary perspectives, and the uses of different kinds of historical source material.

  • Develops historical perspectives on an apparently transhistorical experience through by exploring different chronological periods and geographical regions.

  • Considers the ways in which subjective experiences of infertility, access to treatment, and medical perspectives on this ‘condition’ have been mediated by social, political and cultural discourses, including those around gender and the family.

Book

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Defining the ‘Problem’: Perspectives on Infertility

  3. The Body Politic and the Infertile Body

  4. Situating Infertility in Medicine

About this book

Introduction

This ground-breaking, interdisciplinary volume provides an overdue assessment of how infertility has been understood, treated and experienced in different times and places. It brings together scholars from disciplines including history, literature, psychology, philosophy, and the social sciences to create the first large-scale review of recent research on the history of infertility. Through exploring an unparalleled range of chronological periods and geographical regions, it develops historical perspectives on an apparently transhistorical experience. It shows how experiences of infertility, access to treatment, and medical perspectives on this ‘condition’ have been mediated by social, political, and cultural discourses. The handbook reflects on and interrogates different approaches to the history of infertility, including the potential of cross-disciplinary perspectives and the uses of different kinds of historical source material, and includes lists of research resources to aid teachers and researchers. It is an essential ‘go-to’ point for anyone interested in infertility and its history. 

 

Keywords

infertility involuntary childlessness reproduction reproductive technology IVF artificial insemination sexuality medicalization feminism ethics

Editors and affiliations

  • Gayle Davis
    • 1
  • Tracey Loughran
    • 2
  1. 1.School of History, Classics and ArchaeologyUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  2. 2.Department of HistoryUniversity of EssexColchesterUK

About the editors

Gayle Davis is Senior Lecturer in the History of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, UK, and has published extensively in the social history of medicine since c.1880. Her published work includes the books ‘The Cruel Madness of Love’: Sex, Syphilis and Psychiatry in Scotland, 1880-1930 (2008) and The Sexual State: Sexuality and Scottish Governance, 1950-80 (with Roger Davidson, 2012).

Tracey Loughran is Reader in History at the University of Essex, UK. Her research explores gender, medicine and psychology in twentieth-century Britain. Her major work to date is Shell-Shock and Medical Culture in First World War Britain (2016).


Bibliographic information

Reviews

“The Palgrave Handbook of Infertility demonstrates how infertility research can intersect with these and other areas of inquiry, and offer fresh new perspectives on our understandings of family formation in past and contemporary societies.” (Jane Adams, Health and History, Vol. 20 (2), 2018)


“The 30 essays in this book … cover a broad range of topics in the area of infertility, starting with the very definition of the problematic notion of infertility. … Historians, specialists of literature, and historians of art, for example, will find here a key to read multiple … aspects of history. Specialists in medical ethics and legislation also will consult the work with great benefit, as it aptly frames the topic and opens it to future developments.” (Alain Touwaide, Doody's Book Reviews, December, 2017)