Exploring the Ineffable in Women’s Experiences of Relationality with their Stored IVF Embryos

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Body and Society, 2017, 23 (4), pp. 95 - 120
Issue Date:
2017-12-01
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© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017. This article contributes to a more nuanced and contextual approach to women’s decision-making concerning their stored IVF (in vitro fertilisation) embryos through attempting to craft a space for the expression of the complex, and contradictory, emotions attached to these decisions, unhooked from any notion of abstract moral status inhering in the embryo itself. Women struggle to express the confounding nature of the relationship to the stored IVF embryo as something of-the-body but not within the body, neither self nor other, person nor thing. In order to try to address this sense of the ineffable, I draw in this article upon a series of images by German-born American artist, Kiki Smith. The article explores three major themes, each alongside one of Smith’s artworks connecting to an experience of discomfort or confounding unease.
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