Changing In/Fertilities: An international social scientific collaboration

  • Franklin, Sarah (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Inhorn, Marcia C. (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Bharadwaj, Adi (Partner Investigator (PI))
  • BirenbaumCarmeli, Daphna (Partner Investigator (PI))
  • Blell, Mwenza (Partner Investigator (PI))
  • Gerrits, Trudie (Partner Investigator (PI))
  • González-Santos, Sandra (Partner Investigator (PI))
  • Gurtin, Zeynep (Partner Investigator (PI))
  • Hilevych, Yuliya (Partner Investigator (PI))
  • Ivry, Tsipy (Partner Investigator (PI))
  • Kantsa, Venetia (Partner Investigator (PI))
  • Lamoreaux, Janelle (Partner Investigator (PI))
  • Mohr, Sebastian (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Nahman , Michal (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Rudrappa, Sharmila (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Thompson, Charis (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Tremayne, Soraya (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Wahlberg, Ayo (Chief Investigator (CI))
  • Whittaker, Andrea (Partner Investigator (PI))
  • Ivry, Tsypi (Chief Investigator (CI))

Project: Research

Project Details

Project Description

Changing (In)Fertilities is a major new collaborative interdisciplinary research project funded by the Wellcome Trust and based in the Reproductive Sociology Research Group (ReproSoc) at the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with Prof. Marcia C. Inhorn of Yale University.

Changing (In)Fertilities is designed to be a step-changing project in terms of scholarship. It is also an attempt to transform the wider conversation about fertility and infertility – and about reproduction and reproductive politics more generally – in the post-assisted reproductive technology (ART) era.

We know that IVF and ARTs do not just reproduce babies: they reproduce values, norms, identities and institutions. This collaborative global project will explore how ARTs such as IVF are not only responding to but also changing, the ways in which fertility and infertility are perceived and practiced.

In contrast to the promotion of planned parenthood which dominated the early and mid-20th century, it is the spectre of unplanned infertility that has become more prominent in the early 21st century. Alongside the rapid expansion of assisted fertility services worldwide have come changes in how both fertility and infertility are perceived, defined and experienced. Once aimed at the infertile population, modern ART marketing is increasingly aimed at the fertile population, and at new sectors such as the LGBTQ community. More fertility services has also created greater stratification between the fertility ‘haves and have nots'.

Over a three-year period this global team will explore changing perceptions of fertility, fertility imaginaries, fertility fears and fertility behaviours in the post-ART context. We will document in ‘thick’ qualitative detail the often surprising and unexpected ways in which fertility is being re-imagined and redefined, and also how new fertility trajectories intersect – for example in the effort simultaneously to encourage women to begin their reproductive lives earlier, whilst offering increasing options to extend fertility. We will identify key factors and drivers linking the expansion of ARTs to fertility change, and these will feed into policy as well as basic science.

Building on well-established research partnerships with 27 researchers in 16 countries we will demonstrate how both definitions and perceptions of fertility are changing – and why this is one of the most significant forms of social change in our era.
Effective start/end date1/01/1812/12/21


  • reproductive health