4 - HSB 4M0 - Fecundity and Culture

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					Fecundity & Culture
                    Key Terms
Superovulation: When a woman produces more
  than 1 egg per cycle; usually results from the use
  of fertility drugs

Cultural Norms: Customary types of behaviour;
 rule that outline expectations
        Fertility & Cultural Norms
• Proximate determinants: biological &
  behavioural factors through which social,
  economic & environmental variables affect fertility
• i.e. – contraceptive use
• Western culture – women bear an average of 2
  children; marry in their 20

• Developing world – women bear an average of 7
  children; marry in their teens
Government Intervention in Fertility
• Anthropologists – cultural norms related to fertility not
  only shaped by parents/family - also moulded by
  government policies/programs

• i.e. Russia – concern over low birth rate = debate over
  banning abortion & imposing a childlessness tax
• i.e. China – one-child policy - reduce pop’n growth
• i.e. Quebec (1988) – program to encourage couples to
  have children - $ bonuses given for each child born
Involuntary & Voluntary Childlessness
• Childless couples are often subject to pity, suspicion
  and hostility (i.e. Israel – marriage that remains
  childless for more than 10 yrs. – grounds for divorce)
• 10-20% of couples in developed world cannot have
  children (infertile as a result of physical problems)
• Causes in women – hormone imbalance, pelvic
  infection, reproductive abnormality, etc.
• Causes in men – low sperm count, hormone
  deficiency, impotence, etc.
              Psychological Impacts of
             Involuntary Childlessness
• Couple who cannot conceive but want a child are often
  emotionally devastated

• One of the most emotionally traumatic situations for
  a couple – emotions involved similar to those when
  grieving a death

• Feelings of sadness, depression, shock, anger, guilt (from
  partner “physically responsible” for infertility
It is estimated that 1 in 5 couples in
      Canada will NOT be able to
           produce children.

How would you react if your doctor
   informed you that you were
   Overcoming Infertility: Options
1. Remain childless - can still have a satisfying life
2. Adoption:
   - Domestic (within Canada) – 20,000 Canadian
   children in need of families, only 1200 adopted/yr.
   - International - can adopt infants (preferred);
   2000 adopted/yr. at a cost of $35,000
3. Reproductive technologies – often expensive,
   not covered by government health plans, low
   success rates; however, provides chances/hope
   for infertile couples
      Reproductive Technologies
1. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) – In Canada, not
   covered unless both of the women’s tubes are
   blocked; each cycle of IVF costs between $6,000-
   $10,000; fertilization occurs “in vitro” (in glass) –
   sperm & egg combined in lab dish, after fertilized,
   inserted in uterus
2. Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – assists
   contraception by increases chances of sperm & egg
   actually meeting; woman given fertility drugs to
   cause her to produce more than 1 egg per cycle
   (superovulation); sperm injected into uterus
      Reproductive Technologies
3. Artificial Insemination by Donor (AID) – using
   sperm from a donor (men between 20-40 who are
   healthy, have no family history of illness); when a
   woman’s mate’s sperm is poor quality, low, etc.
4. Surrogate Mother – “substitute/replacement” –
   woman who lends her uterus to an infertile couple so
   they can have a baby; used when a woman has no
   uterus (birth defect or removed surgically for life-
   saving reasons – hysterectomy) or by women who had
   multiple miscarriages; controversial legal & ethical
Some people oppose reproductive
technologies on moral grounds since
they feel scientists are “playing God”
            by interfering.

  What is your opinion on this?
   Stereotypes of Those Who Choose to
            Remain Childless
1. “Hedonists”: women remain childless to preserve
   their standard of living; unwilling to invest their
   time & money to raising children
2. “Emotional”: women who do not have an emotional
   draw towards children considered “emotionless”
3. “Idealistic”: women who do not want to bring a child
   into a world they feel is unsuitable
4. “Practical”: women who have a practical reason for
   being childless; i.e. not wanting to pass on a genetic
   defect to their child
             Class Work
Read “Competing Perspectives” articles
  on pages 194-195 and answer
  questions #1-3 on the bottom of
  page 195

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