The benefit of choice (?). The status of the in vitro embryo and the dead fetus in France

By Anne-Sophie Giraud


Since the 1990s, the statuses of the in vitro embryo and the dead fetus have displayed certain hallmarks of liminality. However, these are now being reconfigured, and are organized around situations of instituted choice granted to the different actors, parents, and professionals involved. But the coexistence of the contradictory statuses that liminality makes possible (between a “quasi child” and an “anatomical specimen” for the dead fetus, and between a “potential child” and a “waste product of a biotechnical process” for the in vitro embryo) can be a source of uncertainty, anxiety, and tension.


  • liminality
  • embryo
  • fetus
  • France
  • in vitro fertilization
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