Deconstructing ‘Desperateness’: The Social Construction of Infertility in Popular Representations of New Reproductive Technologies

  • Sarah Franklin
Part of the Explorations in Sociology. British Sociological Association conference volume series book series (EIS)


These are the headlines of a now familiar story of infertility and its ‘treatment’ via new reproductive technologies. The typical description of the infertile is one that emphasises their ‘desperation’, ‘anguish’ and ‘suffering’ and refers to them as the ‘victims of childlessness’, ‘unwillingly childless’, ‘involuntarily childless’ or as the ‘sufferers of infertility’. Juxtaposed against these tales of ‘desperateness’ are the stories of the ‘happy couples’ who have won their battle against childlessness by producing a ‘miracle baby’ with the help of modern medical science. Together, these two sets of stories, of happiness and hopelessness, constitute the major frame of reference for discussions of infertility.


Social Construction Infertile Woman Infertile Couple Popular Representation Social Loss 
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Copyright information

© British Sociological Association 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Franklin

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