Despite the fact that, statistically, women of low socioeconomic status (SES) experience greater difficulty conceiving children, infertility is generally understood to be a wealthy, white woman’s issue. In Misconception
, Ann V. Bell overturns such historically ingrained notions of infertility by examining the experiences of poor women and women of color. These women, so the stereotype would have it, are simply too fertile. The fertility of affluent and of poor women is perceived differently, and these perceptions have political and social consequences, as social policies have entrenched these ideas throughout U.S. history.
Through fifty-eight in-depth interviews with women of both high and low SES, Bell begins to break down the stereotypes of infertility and show how such depictions consequently shape women’s infertility experiences. Prior studies have relied solely on participants recruited from medical clinics—a sampling process that inherently skews the participant base toward wealthier white women with health insurance.
In comparing class experiences, Misconception goes beyond examining medical experiences of infertility to expose the often overlooked economic and classist underpinnings of reproduction, family, motherhood, and health in contemporary America.