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December 2019

Med Anthropol. 1993 Aug; 15(3): 217-44.

Infertility, infection, and iatrogenesis in Egypt: the anthropological epidemiology of blocked tubes.

Inhorn MC, Buss KA.

Department of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721.

In this article, we integrate medical anthropological and analytical epidemiological methods, forms of data analysis, and interpretive insights to examine the culture-specific behavioral factors that place poor, urban Egyptian women at risk of tubal-factor infertility (TFI). Such risk factors include biomedically and ethnomedically produced iatrogenesis, including the consequences of the practice of female circumcision, and male sexual behavior leading to sterilizing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in their female sexual partners. We examine the socio-cultural and political-economic context in which infertility-producing behavioral risk factors are maintained, and we explore the ways in which these risk factors are perceived by biomedically trained Egyptian gynecologists.


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