This article is based on a qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with women and men suffering from fertility problems. It analyses the negotiations between partners confronted with the diagnosis of infertility and seeking the best solution. The analysis examined how men and women define their roles in the treatment of infertility, how they perceive their partners' coping and involvement, and conflicting and controversial topics and situations. Data suggest that the burden of infertility is unequal. While treatment involves a woman fully in the physical and the psychological sense, the involvement of the man and potential father in the treatment process is reduced to his provision of genetic material on demand. The research revealed two factors that influence and separate the experiences of men and women: the different time/age frame of the reproductive experience and the physical aspect of infertility and reproduction. Both factors are anchored in the praxis of assisted reproduction. The treatment process is administered in a way that, instead of reshaping or challenging traditional definitions of parenthood or gender roles, confirms the status quo.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.