Chapter

Selling Hope

Gay Becker

in The Elusive Embryo

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780520224308
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925243 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520224308.003.0008
Selling Hope

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This chapter states that women and men equate new reproductive technologies with hope. Hope is closely associated with American notions of individualism and responsibility for health. Both lay and medical literature attests to the importance of maintaining a hopeful attitude in taking charge of one's illness, and the propensity for optimism is reflected in medical practice. Hope escalates as couples wait to see if they have qualified for an IVF (in vitro fertilization) program. Assessments of the odds escalate as well. In the field of reproductive technology, hope has become part of the process of commodification, a marketing tool. Persistence too is appropriated in this way. It is emphasized by the biomedical science establishment and the medical technology industry. Persistence, the means by which people attempt to control their environment, is demonstrated by those seeking medical solutions for a wide range of conditions. This chapter also explains the effects of marketing on consumer's attitudes.

Keywords: reproductive technologies; hope; individualism; propensity for optimism; IVF program; process of commodification; persistence

Chapter.  7156 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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