Infertility and Assisted Reproduction
In Translation: Assisted Reproductive Technologies in Bulgaria
The "In Translation" sidebars in the 2011 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves highlight the work of our global partners who develop health resources based on Our Bodies, Ourselves for their own communities.
||Group: Women’s Health Initiative in Bulgaria
Resource: Нашемо мя^о Ние самиме (Our
Body, Ourselves), a Bulgarian edition of
Our Bodies, Ourselves
In Bulgaria, it’s considered a woman’s duty to bear children, and assisted reproductive technologies are widely used by infertile couples. With eighteen clinics in the country and more on the way, women spend years saving money for the treatment and navigating the health care system to learn more about different treatments, risks, and outcomes.
As the demand for these services increases, Women’s Health Initiative in Bulgaria (WHIBG), an OBOS partner that published an adaptation of Our Bodies, Ourselves in 2001, reports that women’s health care activists have successfully advocated for better regulation of treatment procedures and government subsidies for women unable to afford care. In 2009, almost one-quarter of the 6,000 couples who underwent in vitro procedures received monetary assistance from the Bulgarian government.
In addition to being concerned about safety and access, WHIBG is researching the context in which women decide to seek assisted treatment. The organization notes that the majority of Bulgarian women feel that assisted reproductive technologies embody hope and empowerment, despite the emotional and physical risks they might face. As a result of these attitudes, WHIBG makes policy recommendations to decrease the stigmatization of childlessness and to ensure that women can access the resources they need to exercise their full range of reproductive options.
WHIBG is also drawing attention to how a deregulated health care system, combined with a socially biased view of motherhood, leads to problems with care and has underscored the importance of providing emotional support to women undergoing treatments. Due to WHIBG’s work, several clinics have been encouraged to include psychologists on their infertility treatment teams.
Excerpted from the 2011 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves. © 2011, Boston Women's Health Book Collective. You can read other "In Translation" sidebars about women's groups who are adapting Our Bodies, Ourselves and creating resources to advance the health and human rights of women and girls in their countries. Find out more about the Women's Health Initiative in Bulgaria.
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