The experience of being an in vitro fertilization (IVF) patient in a pro-natalist society - a form of emotional labor

Limor Dina Gonen, Ya’Arit Bokek-Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Israel is known as a highly pronatalist society. We conceptualize the pro-natalist state as the employer of in vitro fertilization (IVF) patients in the labor of procreation. We characterize the unique Israeli religio-cultural environment regarding infertility using the concepts of emotional labor, surface acting, deep acting, emotional dissonance, and burnout. One hundred and forty-two women and 62 men undergoing IVF in eight public IVF units were asked to describe their emotions on the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). We discuss the patients’ emotional responses in light of the religio-cultural and the emotional labor context. Evidence was found for gender differences whereby women suffer more negative emotional outcomes than male partners of IVF patients. The pro-natalist state poses greater emotional stress for female IVF patients in comparison with that experienced by the male spouses of IVF patients. Consulting professionals should offer psycho-social care if necessary, focusing on strategies taken from emotional labor theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-299
Number of pages27
JournalSocial Work in Health Care
Volume59
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 27 May 2020

Keywords

  • Emotion
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • familist orientation
  • infertility
  • pronatalism
  • religion
  • stress

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