Sex Roles

, Volume 53, Issue 5, pp 337–346

Work, Leisure, and Support Groups: An Examination of the Ways Women with Infertility Respond to Pronatalist Ideology


DOI: 10.1007/s11199-005-6757-0

Cite this article as:
Parry, D.C. Sex Roles (2005) 53: 337. doi:10.1007/s11199-005-6757-0


Pronatalism embodies the belief that a woman's social value is linked to her production of biological children (C. Morell, 2000). Conceiving and bearing children is literally impossible, however, for some of the 5 million women in the United States who struggle with infertility. Women negotiate their experiences with infertility within a pronatalist society, yet their experiences therein have been given little attention. Thus, the purpose of this research was to explore women's lived experiences with infertility in a pronatalist ideology. Active interviews with 32 participants who had experienced infertility revealed that the women were aware of a pronatalist ideology, which was manifested through insensitive comments or questions and unsolicited advice. The women responded by immersing themselves in their work, leisure activities/experiences, or support groups. The findings illustrate how pronatalist ideology is manifest in social interactions, but they also suggest how it may be resisted.


feminist epistemology infertility pronatalism resistance 

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Recreation and Leisure StudiesUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada