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Gender Attitudes: Infertility

  1. Arthur L. Greil1,
  2. Katherine M. Johnson2

Published Online: 21 FEB 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118410868.wbehibs046

The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior, and Society

The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior, and Society

How to Cite

Greil, A. L. and Johnson, K. M. 2014. Gender Attitudes: Infertility. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior, and Society. 589–594.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Alfred University, USA

  2. 2

    Pennsylvania State University, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 FEB 2014

Abstract

Because parenthood is typically more central to women's identity than to men's, the effects of infertility on identity are more severe for women. Nonetheless, men suffer from infertility also. It is important to move beyond the question of whose infertility is “worse” and begin to discuss how women's and men's experiences differ. Women experience infertility as a direct blow to self-identity, whereas men experience infertility indirectly through the effect it has on their partners. Because fertility is so central to women's identities in developing countries, the gendered nature of the experience of infertility may be more striking in such societies.

Keywords:

  • gender;
  • illness behavior;
  • medicalization;
  • stigma