The Janus Face of Infertility in the Global North and South: Reviewing Feminist Contributions to the Debate

  • Sara MacBride-StewartEmail author
  • Rachel Simon-Kumar


This chapter offers an account of the historical emergence of the ‘Janus face’ of infertility in the global North and South, focusing on the period from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s as a particularly active time of development in infertility policy, practice, and debate. It details feminist contributions to discussions on gender development in the Third World that focus on fertility rates, reproductive health services, and population control, and explores feminist contributions to understanding the role of medical technologies in overcoming infertility, and the consequent revolution in understandings of kinship and conception, particularly in the First World. Drawing on Nancy Fraser’s thesis that the movement for women’s liberation has become entangled with neoliberal efforts that encourage ‘disorganized’ globalizing effects, this chapter explores the contribution of gender development and gender justice approaches to differential understandings about the provision of, and access to, infertility treatments in local and global contexts.


Development Feminism Fertility Population Stratified reproduction 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiff University School of Social SciencesCardiffUK
  2. 2.The University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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