No one sees the fathers: Israeli fathers' experience of feticide

Ronit D. Leichtentritt*, Galia Weinberg-Kurnik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Rationale Feticide, a relatively recent development in medical technology, is the practice of late-stage pregnancy termination. The practice of feticide and the individuals who are closely exposed to it – particularly the fathers– have been under-researched. Objective The current research aims to fill this lacuna, examining the experience of Israeli fathers whose fetuses underwent feticide. Israeli policy concerning late-stage termination of pregnancy is unique but corresponds with Israeli social norms that emphasize health in general and healthy children in particular. Methods Seventeen interviews with men who experienced the feticide of their fetuses were carried out. Interviews were analyzed using the principles of hermeneutic phenomenology as outlined by Ricoeur. Results The results indicate that men's experiences in this arena are socially constructed and limited by gender roles and expectations. The revealed themes address: (a) the lack of a socially constructed terminology; (b) the unclear definition of the feticide experience; (c) men's sense of obligation to protect themselves and others from the procedure and its ramifications, and (d) the policies and regulations used to exclude men from the feticide experience, and the strategies they use to exclude themselves. The results further revealed that while narrating their experiences, men re-examined their behaviors, raising retrospectively counterfactual thoughts about what should have been done differently. Conclusion The findings highlight the interface between a personal experience and a social phenomenon. In conceptualizing the men's two opposing positions – one that embraces social expectations, as evident in the revealed themes; the other that questions fathers' conformity, as evident through their counterfactual thoughts –Dialogical Self Theory was useful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-166
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation854/12


    • Counterfactual thoughts
    • Dialogical Self Theory
    • Father
    • Feticide
    • Late-stage pregnancy termination


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