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The “Iranian ART Revolution”: infertility, assisted reproductive technology, and third-party donation in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Abbasi-Shavazi, Mohammad Jalal, Inhorn, Marcia C., Rezeghi-Nasrabad, Hajieh Bibi, & Toloo, Ghasem (2008) The “Iranian ART Revolution”: infertility, assisted reproductive technology, and third-party donation in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies, 4(2), pp. 1-28.

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Abstract

Infertility is a social onus for women in Iran, who are expected to produce children early within marriage. With its estimated 1.5 million infertile couples, Iran is the only Muslim country in which assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) using donor gametes and embryos have been legitimized by religious authorities and passed into law. Th is has placed Iran, a Shia-dominant country, in a unique position vis-à-vis the Sunni Islamic world, where all forms of gamete donation are strictly prohibited. In this article, we first examine the “Iranian ART revolution” that has allowed donor technologies to be admitted as a form of assisted reproduction. Then we examine the response of Iranian women to their infertility and the profound social pressures they face. We argue that the experience of infertility and its treatment are mediated by women’s socioeconomic position within Iranian society. Many women lack economic access to in vitro fertilization (IVF) technologies and fear the moral consequences of gamete donation. Thus, the benefits of the Iranian ART revolution are mixed: although many Iranian women have been able to overcome their infertility through ARTs, not all women’s lives are improved by these technologies.

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ID Code: 28039
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Iran, Assisted reproductive technology, Gamete donation, Islamic law, Shia & Sunni, Women, Infertility
ISSN: 1552-5864
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > DEMOGRAPHY (160300) > Fertility (160302)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > RELIGION AND RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS (220400) > Islamic Studies (220403)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > DEMOGRAPHY (160300)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Indiana University Press
Copyright Statement: IU Press Journals allows authors of articles published in its journals to post pre-print and post-print versions of their articles on their personal websites and within institutional repositories. For post-prints, please include the following credit line: This article was published as The "Iranian ART Revolution": infertility,assisted reproductive technology, and third-party donation in the Islamic Republic of Iran. No part of this article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or distributed, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photographic, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Indiana University Press. For educational re-use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center (508-744-3350). For all other permissions, please visit Indiana University Press' permissions page.
Deposited On: 16 Oct 2009 10:41
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2013 13:03

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