Parents' Religious and Secular Perspectives on IVF Planning in Serbia

Veselin Mitrovic


The social and institutional background of this research can be summarized as the relation between public and governmental policies on the one hand, and the experience of patients and IVF experts on the other. Namely, one third of all pregnancies achieved in state-funded in vitro fertilizations (IVF) obscure some ethical and health issues, especially among patients who abandon the state-funded IVF programme in Serbia. The goal of the current research is to identify, describe and understand ethical and social issues that parents encounter in attempts to fulfil their idea of a sovereign (parental) life through IVF. The method comprised a tri-level analysis based on semi-structured interviews with participants who exhibit personal experiences of basic ethical principles and social and health needs within IVF. The results obtained indicate that all three explored levels of patients' experience build a picture of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) as a means of a sovereign or good (parental) life. However, the cultural image of the fulfilment of expected parental social roles resulted in a denial of autonomy and led to self-abnegation through silent acceptance of unethical practices. There is an overlap of the margins of secular ideas and roles on the one hand, and religiosity on the other, making such consent socially acceptable and more easily explainable.

Finally, the conclusion reached is that apparently a decrease in sovereignty of parental decisions causes a loss of trust in state clinics and medical procedures, reduces solidarity (as both a religious and secular social value) and establishes norms and patterns of social injustice and inequality.


reproductive rights, altruism, IVF, applied ethics, Serbia, patients, health issues

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