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NARRATIVE ARTIFICE AND WOMEN'S AGENCY

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ABSTRACT

The choice to pursue fertility treatments is a complex one. In this paper I explore the issues of choice, agency, and gender as they relate to assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs). I argue that narrative approaches to bioethics such as those by Arthur Frank and Hilde Lindemann Nelson clarify judgments about autonomy and fertility medicine. More specifically, I propose two broad narrative categories that help capture the experience of encounters with fertility medicine: narratives of hope and narratives of resistance. This narrative typology captures the inevitable conflict that women feel when they become subjects of fertility medicine. On the one hand, they must remain hopeful; on the other, they must not surrender themselves completely. Nelson's account of counterstories as narratives of resistance helps us see how women can reconcile the experience of a strong desire to have children with the desire to remain authentic and whole.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1Assistant Professor Department of Religion Florida State University Tallahassee FL 32306, Email: akalbian@mailer.fsu.edu

Publication date: 2005-04-01

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