BONUS 153: A History of Infertility

May 4, 2018

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Today’s bonus episode guest is Robin Jensen, a professor of communication at the University of Utah and author of Infertility: Tracing the History of a Transformative Term.

Robin and Heather discuss her background, the book, and the rich history of infertility:

INTRODUCTION

  • Before we talk about your book and the history of infertility, I’d like to hear a little bit more about you. Tell us about your background.

THE BOOK

  • What was your goal in writing Infertility: Tracing the History of a Transformative Term, and why did you choose this topic in particular?
  • I understand you used doctor-patient correspondence, oral histories, and news coverage to compile the book. Tell us more about this and the process you used.

THE HISTORY OF INFERTILITY

  • The term ‘infertility’ is relatively new. Take us through the history of the various metaphors that pre-date it.
  • What is ‘energy conservation,’ and where does it fit historically in the narrative surrounding infertility?
  • What is ‘medicalization,’ and how did the medicalization of infertility begin?
  • What is ‘psychogenic infertility,’ and where does it fit historically in the narrative surrounding infertility?
  • When did ‘time’ enter the narrative surrounding infertility, and how has this rhetoric changed or evolved since then?
  • In your opinion, what is the the significance of IVF to both modern-day medicine and 21st century society?
  • Historically and today, where do men fit into the infertility picture?

WRAPPING UP

  • How would you describe today’s rhetoric surrounding infertility?
  • Do you think today’s narrative needs to change? If so, why and how?

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