Prenatal Care Shopping: Paying for Reproductive Peace of Mind in Taiwan

Li Wen Shih, Celia Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article discusses people’s experiences of prenatal screening and testing (PST) in Taiwan, a country that offers an extensive schedule of free PST underpinned by a ‘Eugenic Health’ Law that promotes the idea of you sheng [superior birth]. Conducting periods of fieldwork from 2008 to 2021, and undertaking 114 ethnographic interviews with women, their partners and clinicians, we observed that pregnant women were often anxious about the health of the foetus, and that their anxieties were not reduced by engaging with new prenatal genetic testing technologies: on the contrary, such engagements increased their levels of concern. In order to address these worries, many participants repeatedly visited different obstetric institutions and clinicians, purchasing multiple forms of genetic screening and testing: we call this ‘prenatal care shopping’. Many participants also visited temples to pray and make offerings to try to gain ‘peace of mind.’ In exploring these prenatal care shopping and spiritual activities, we analyse how our participants situate themselves in relation to PST technologies and ask what is the significance of their experiences for policy-makers in the reproductive health space in Taiwan and more broadly?.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralian Feminist Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • feminism
  • prenatal care shopping
  • prenatal screening and testing
  • reproductive anxiety
  • reproductive choice
  • Taiwan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies


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