Alisa Feldman

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20172018 Forum on Afterlives

Alisa Feldman

Health and Societies

CAS, 2018

Alisa is majoring in Health and Societies with a concentration in health policy and law, and minoring in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Her research interests center on new reproductive technologies; the intersection of kinship, religion, and reproductive politics; and LGBTQ healthcare. At Penn, Alisa is the Editor-in-Chief of the Penn Healthcare Review, a Board Member of the Wharton Undergraduate Healthcare Club, a Board Member of the University Assisted Physical Activity Student Leadership, and the Community Outreach Director of Penn Art Club for Lea Elementary School. During the school-year, Alisa also volunteers as a Legal Intake Intern at the American Civil Liberties Union in Philadelphia. In addition to the Wolf Humanities Fellowship, she is also the recipient of the Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism Undergraduate Fellowship, the Goldfein Award for undergraduate research in Jewish studies, the Gelfman International Summer Fund Research Grant, and the Seltzer Digital Media Award.


Be Fruitful and Medicalize: IVF Risk Communication and the Politics of Assisted Reproduction in Israel

Israel is a pronatalist (birth-promoting) country, in which the government funds virtually unlimited cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF) for all women, between ages 18 and 45, until they have two children. The sociological and anthropological literature on IVF in Israel alludes to the tendency of IVF providers in Israel to downplay the risks of IVF in their communication with patients about the procedure. Yet, current explanations of this tendency are merely speculative. My thesis draws upon two months of ethnographic fieldwork at IVF clinics in Israel to identify key factors that shape provider-patient IVF risk communication in Israel. This thesis demonstrates that the manner in which physicians communicate with their patients about the risks of IVF in Israel is inextricably linked to broader issues of national conflict, budgetary politics, and the socio-cultural dynamics of gender roles in the country. Additionally, this thesis elucidates that the manner in which physicians communicate with patients about IVF risks contributes to women's sense of access to IVF in Israel, alongside other prominent factors affecting access, such as finance and proximity to IVF clinics.