Pregnancy. For many women it is an exhilarating period of their lives. Having already made the decision to conceive, now women are confronted with a more encumbering choice, one riddled with emotional and moral implications: the option to test the health of their fetus prior to birth. Rayna Rapp, one of the leading feminist anthropologists in the United States, explores the complex and contradictory nature of prenatal diagnosis and its social impact and cultural meaning through the narratives of the people who have experienced it. Rich with the voices and stories of participants, these touching, firsthand accounts examine how women of diverse racial, ethnic, class and religious backgrounds perceive prenatal testing, the most prevalent and routinized of the new reproducing technologies. This Pandora's box of moral issues has prompted complex questions, such as: What do women want and not want from technology in pregnancy? What conditions are "worth" an abortion? How do women receiving a "bad" diagnosis cope with their ultimate decisions? Based on the author's decade of research and her own personal experiences with amniocentesis, Testing Women, Testing the Fetus explores the "geneticization" of family life in all its complexity and diversity.
Testing Women, Testing the Fetus is likely to prove equally valuable to health care providers concerned with offering the best possible care to patients from diverse social backgrounds.