In Vitro Fertilisation Policy in Israel and Women's Perspectives: The More the Better?

Daphna Birenbaum-Carmeli, Martha Dirnfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Israel offers nearly full funding for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) to any Israeli woman irrespective of her marital status or sexual orientation, until she has two children with her current partner. Consequently, Israeli women are the world's most intensive consumers of IVF. This 2006 study explored the perceptions of Israeli IVF patients about the treatment and their experiences, probing possible links between state policy and women's choices and health. Israeli women (n=137), all currently undergoing IVF, were invited to fill out questionnaires. The questionnaires were delivered in five IVF centres by university nursing students or by the clinics' nurses. Most women were optimistic they would become pregnant, and described the treatment as having modest or no negative effects on their lives. They expressed a sweeping commitment to IVF, which they were willing to repeat "as many times as needed". At the same time, the majority appeared to have very partial treatment-related knowledge and marginalised side effects, even though they had experienced some themselves. We interpret the observed favourable image of IVF as closely related to the encouragement implied in the extensive state funding of IVF and in the Jewish Israeli tradition of pronatalism, which may account for the virtual absence of critical public debate on the subject.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-191
Number of pages10
JournalReproductive Health Matters
Issue number31
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Israel
  • in vitro fertilisation
  • infertility
  • law and policy
  • women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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