Infertility and assisted reproduction: legislative and cultural evolution in Italy

Barbara Cordella, Francesca Greco, Katia Carlini, Alessia Greco, Renata Tambelli


The social representation of the infertility coming out from the national newspapers has been explored in relation to the enactment of the Law 40/2004 and the 2005 referendum. All the articles (n=731), published in the last 15 years by the highest circulation Italian newspapers, have been collected in a corpus (token=360345) that underwent a multivariate analysis of textual data. Results show a difficulty in complementing together the mind and the body. The “biologic” is represented as the place of the technical and medical intervention while the “psycho-social” is conceived as the place of the family storytelling of the personal experiences of infertility and the public ethical debate on it. Before the law, newspapers deal with the theme of the family experience probably supporting the law enactment. After the referendum this thematic is dismissed and the theme of infertility as a pathology to treat emerges, bringing back infertility to the medical issue.


infertility; assisted reproduction; law enactment; media; representations

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