Understanding Attitudes toward In-Vitro Fertilization and Support for Less Restrictive In-Vitro Fertilization Policies: The Influence of Family, Information Processing, Media, and Science
AdvisorMiller, Monica K.
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The emergence of in-vitro fertilization (IVF), a reproductive technology, has allowed infertile women and couples the opportunity to conceive children and form much desired families. Increased media exposure and political attention have aroused public concern and controversy, especially within the past five years. Thus, the purpose of this research was to conduct two studies to determine what factors influence individuals' attitude and support toward assisted reproduction, and how message content can persuade individuals to hold more favorable attitudes and support, respectively. The first study recruited undergraduate students from two mid-sized universities and asked participants to complete an online study for course credit. The second study recruited a community sample through Amazon's Mechanical Turk and participants were compensated for completing an online study. Results from the first study indicated that individuals' attention to the media directly influenced their attitudes toward assisted reproduction and support for more lenient policies, and indirectly affected such attitudes and support by impacting their general scientific beliefs. Individuals' knowledge shaped their attitudes and support toward reproductive technology, as well. Furthermore, results from the second study suggested that informational messages can influence individuals' knowledge, attitudes, and support concerning reproduction and reproductive technology. Such messages should focus on the benefits of assisted reproduction rather than its costs in order to gain support for less restrictive policies. Such findings provide preliminary insight into how policymakers, fertility business owners, and reproductive medicine researchers and physicians can shape individuals' attitudes and support regarding assisted reproduction.