Accepted paper:

Commodified infertility treatment and its influence on women's health: from cases of Japan and the Netherlands

Author:

Masae Kato

Paper short abstract:

Infertility treatment is a thriving business. Observing cases of Japan and the Netherlands, this paper discusses how presence and absence of regulations, and commodification and non-commodification of IVF may differently influence women’s health both mentally and physically.

Paper long abstract:

Infertility treatment is a thriving business in Japan. In the country, the age of first marriage among women is being advanced, and the number of women undergoing infertility treatment is increasing. The treatment - here In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)- is neither covered by health insurance nor regulated, so, women can attempt to become pregnant as long as they want. In the field, the author met a number of women undergoing IVF for many years. In the sense a great source of income for maternity clinic is IVF, infertility treatments is commodified. A number of women going through IVF is increasing in the Netherlands, too, but IVF is regulated: up to three attempts are insured and women above 45 are not recommended to undergo IVF. As IVF is performed in public hospitals, it is not commodified. So, in one situation there is 'freedom' for women without limits, and in the other there is limits of 'freedom' where the treatment is clearly regulated. This paper, based on the author's observation and conversations of women and couples under IVF in both countries, analyses effects of commodification of IVF on the health of women with infertility problems, both mentally and physically. Does absence of regulations benefit women's dream to have children in the end? How do women in the Netherlands deal with regulations in pursing their dreams to have children? In short: How does presence and absence of regulations, and commodification and non-commodification of IVF influence women's health in cases I observe?

panel P25
Biomedicine, entrepreneurship and future ecologies of health care