Organizing male infertility: Masculinities and fertility treatment

Lucia Cervi*, David Knights

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper explores how organizations within the fertility treatment sector in the UK discursively construct (cis) male infertility and whether, in so doing, they reinforce or reproduce prevailing institutionalized discourses and practices of masculinity. We seek to address the gender disparity in contemporary understandings of reproductive health in Organization Studies (OS) where women's experience of infertility and its impact is well researched, but only occasionally does this extend to issues of male infertility. Specifically, we build on existing literature in the social sciences and OS on male infertility and expand it by investigating the organizations that treat fertility issues. We examine and discuss how they may inadvertently contribute to this neglect, by reflecting and reproducing the masculine norms that surround male infertility. We employ a thematic analysis to examine texts produced by organizations involved in the fertility sector and find that male infertility is discussed and presented through three intersecting lenses: (a) a hegemonic masculinization of infertility; (b) male infertility as an othering experience; and (c) disembodied masculinity. We highlight how these gendered organizational narratives (re)produce prevailing norms and practices of masculinity, and how an organizational shift within the sector needs to take place if substantial changes toward more caring, relational, and collective approaches to gender and reproductive health are to be achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1113-1131
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number4
Early online date17 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • masculinity
  • infertility
  • reproduction
  • men
  • fertility treatment


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