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Title: Social welfare, genetic welfare? Boundary-work in the IVF/PGD clinic
Authors: Ehrich, K
Williams, C
Scott, R
Sandall, J
Farsides, B
Keywords: UK;Genetics;Professional ambivalence;Boundary-work;In vitro fertilisation;Preimplantation genetic diagnosis
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd.
Citation: Social Science & Medicine, 63(5): 1213-1224, 2006
Abstract: Through the lens of the ‘welfare of the child’ assessment, this paper explores how staff working in the area of in vitro fertilisation and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (IVF/PGD) balance reflexive relations of legitimacy and accountability between the public and private spheres, and between medicine, the citizen and the state. The wider research of which this analysis is a part uses multiple methods to study two National Health Service Assisted Conception Units in England. Research methods used included observation clinics and interviews with staff from a range of disciplines. We illustrate how the staff reveal tensions between their views that the welfare of the child assessment can be seen as intrusive and discriminatory, and on the other hand that medical intervention in reproduction should be socially and professionally accountable. These tensions can be understood sociologically in terms of a gradual movement from socially based solutions to fertility problems and disabilities, towards a biomedical, and arguably genetically oriented world view of such problems. Rather than being viewed as discrete, these two orientations should be seen as indicating an emergent direction of travel along a continuum, with elements of both being present in the accounts. We argue that consideration of the welfare of the child involves staff in ethical boundary-work across the two orientations and between the accountabilities and responsibilities of healthcare professionals, individuals and the state.
Description: Copyright @ 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 0277-9536
Appears in Collections:Sociology
Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Research Papers

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