Mapping Infertility Health Morality and Ethics: Exploring Uses of qGIS for Analysing Changes in the Governance of Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Authors: Shelley Grant*, PPGNHI/UW Seattle
Topics: Population Geography, Europe, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: infertility health, reproductive governance, spatial analysis and modeling, moral geographies
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 3:55 PM / 5:35 PM
Room: Congressional A, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Escalating demands for reproductive “justice” and equitable access to assisted reproductive technologies (ART) appear universal in scale. Yet, such depictions of health needs may obscure spatially distinct and potentially represent-able fluctuations in conviction and uncertainties about care limits within interum negotations on pioneering processes. Inspired by the works of moral, critical and feminist geographers commenting on intersections of moral and spatial difference, including Sack (1999), Smith (2000), Lawson (2007) and Mitchell (2017), this paper assesses qGIS capacities for plotting and evaluating shifts in care ethics suggested in extensions of and reversals in the rules governing infertility treatments. Analysing policy shifts as vistually represent-able tensions between health disorders and policy responses, I review raster and vetor-based options for modeling European ART activity and regulatory fluctuations for a key set of established, but culturally contested techniques, including donor insemination (DI), cryopreservation (“social freezing”) and pre-implantation genetic diagnoses (PGD). This social science application of qGIS differs from the methods frequently used in mixed-method analyses on the efficacy of ART rules, health outcomes or family growth trends. My aim here is not only to explore new ways of comparing varied national policy positions, but also to comment on the processes required to translate notions of care signficance drawn from diverse evidentiary sources. I anticipate this effort to produce new options for reviewing diverse data on policy change and understanding regional efforts to prioritize and respond to timely needs across areas of population replacement, care equity, human rights and disease control.

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