‘All planned babies must be born’

Women’s experience of infertility and assisted reproductive technologies in Hungary


  • Dóra Szekulesz Eötvös Loránd University


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infertility, assisted reproductive technologies, reproduction, biopolitics, population policy


In recent years, the issue of reproduction has been increasingly thematized in Hungarian political discourse. This has not only occurred at the discursive level, but the government has also introduced new policies regarding reproduction and family life, thus new regulations have been introduced concerning the medical practice of IVF and other ART which have affected practices associated with infertility. The article aims to discuss the ways that policies and discourses shape the views of women struggling with infertility. The medical and political discourse seems to emphasize the responsibility of women in relation to fertility-related issues, despite the fact that the problem also affects men. Furthermore, with the increased surveillance of women undergoing assisted reproductive treatment, the importance of the latter’s self-reflexivity, discipline, and responsibility is emphasized. To discuss these issues, the article uses a multi-method approach. The primary data source is in-depth narrative interviews with IVF participants, supplemented by the analysis of political discourses about childbearing and infertility which help in the examination of how different policies and discourses shape individual experiences and desires. I argue that recent policies on IVF and related medical discourses and practices can potentially emphasize the responsibility of women. Women who cannot or do not want to reproduce may be presented as selfish or treated with pity, and these notions are intensified due to the government's explicit pronatalist agenda, which only supports those who conform to conservative heteronormative reproductive standards.




How to Cite

Szekulesz, D. 2022. ‘All planned babies must be born’: Women’s experience of infertility and assisted reproductive technologies in Hungary. Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics. 8, 3 (Nov. 2022), 30–47. DOI:https://doi.org/10.17356/ieejsp.v8i3.874.



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