Does Technology Possess Potential to Alter Gender Relations? A Perspective on Social Construction of Infertility in India
Background:A woman’s ability to make autonomous reproductive choices empowers women because it offers them the opportunity of becoming a mother without getting married, and presents to them the choice of age to become a mother by extending their pregnancy barrier in socio cultural dictates of the Indian society. Whether knowingly or otherwise, society through ritual and lore, then begins to play an active role in actualizing the expected portrayal of a girl; expectations that include the girl continuing her patriarchal lineage, with an invariable emphasis on the bearing of a male child. A cycle of vulnerability follows and a woman is seen to increase by leaps and bounds if she is unable to conceive. However, Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) has altered social consequences and shares the co burden of infertility as well as fertility. Objective: The paper attempts to analyze the social construction of infertility as an interface between existing public policies, medical practices and people perceptions. Methods: The article is prepared based on the secondary literature. By assimilating underlying social pattern, a perspective on the social construction of infertility as technology mediates between perceived risk, social burden, and fertility outcomes established through an informal communication of people who experienced and their peers within the Indian cultural context. Results: ART is an important gender intervention, therefore, fulfills more of a social psychological need, than merely biological. While a natural social construct protects the man’s ability to reproduce, ART has the ability to identify and internalize a male’s reproductive shortcoming, further substantiating a woman’s position in the family, and shattering centuries of rigid beliefs. Women’s identities have succeeded in being defined beyond reproduction, but motherhood remains central to a woman's status, both culturally and as the object of policy. Recent Public policies related to infertility treatments are toward inclusiveness. While a shift in the societal mindset aids to boost a woman’s self-respect, scientific intervention is constantly negotiating the ethics between production and performance.