Reproductive technology in Italy between gender policy and inequality. Can we speak of "social infertility"?


  • Lia Lombardi Università degli studi di Milano Fondazione ISMU



This article focus on the practices of Medically Assisted Procreation (MAP) or ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) related to the process of medicalization of the body, of human reproduction and of everyday life, with a view to the social context in which ART develop. In particular, the Italian context shows some contradictions between the advances in biomedicine and biotechnology and legislative and political conservatism.

This study will therefore consider: a) some theoretical approaches on the relationship  between reproductive technology and women's bodies; b) the relationship between Italian policies and social, family and parenting structures; c) the impact of reproductive technologies on gender roles; d) gender inequality, still rooted in the Italian context and facing the challenges of MAP, as well as the persistence of procreative conventional models.

As for the methodology of the study, we have carried out an "integrated study" based on the existing sociological and anthropological international literature and databases and on a qualitative research conducted in a local context.


Keywords: reproduction, technology, gender, medicalisation, infertility

Author Biography

Lia Lombardi, Università degli studi di Milano Fondazione ISMU

Short CV

Lia Lombardi is Adjunct Professor in Sociology and Anthropolgy, University of Milan; researcher at ISMU Foundation, Health and Welfare Unit; President of Association BLIMUNDE, Milan.

Gender, Health, Reproductive Health, Migration and Social Policies are the main fields of her studies and research, with special attention on Mediterranean area.

In 2008 she received the “Excellence in Teaching Award” by The University of California, Study Center of Padua.

Work experience abroad on reproductive health, gender discrimination, women empowerment: Lecturer at the University of Buenos Aires (1993); Professor at the “high course for social promoter in health care” (Beirut, 2010); Scientific director and Gender consultant in three research and empowering projects for women (Lebanon, 2009-2013).

Scientific director of research and training projects on Discrimination and Gender Based Violence (Lombardy Region, 2010-2014).

Her publications include: The Health Status of Immigrants in Lombardy, (ISMU, 2015); Medically Assisted Procreation and their challenges. Gender, Technologies, Inequalities (Milan, 2013); Societies, Cultures and Gender differences. Health Status and Migration Paths (Milan, 2005)