ABSTRACT

For most Americans, the term ‘infertility’ conjures up images of wealthy, white, well-educated couples seeking high-tech, medical interventions. A skewed master narrative dominates perceptions of infertility in the US, such that views of infertility are deeply inflected by race and socio-economic filters. Medical and social science scholars have helped to maintain and perpetuate this dominant narrative by conducting research with the most readily accessible study populations: namely, white, economically privileged couples attending infertility treatment clinics (Abbey et al, 1991). This is true even among anthropologists who are concerned with issues of social and cultural diversity. Of the five book-length ethnographies devoted to infertility and assisted conception in the US, all have documented the struggles of white professional couples to make the ‘elusive embryo’ (Greil, 1991; Sandelowski, 1993; Becker, 1997, 2000; Thompson, 2005).