Analyzes how the possibility of egg freezing changes what it means to be fertile and to age in the 21st century
Welcomed as liberation and dismissed as exploitation, egg freezing (oocyte cryopreservation) has rapidly become one of the most widely-discussed and influential new reproductive technologies of this century. In Freezing Fertility, Lucy van de Wiel takes us inside the world of fertility preservation-with its egg freezing parties, contested age limits, proactive anticipations and equity investments-and shows how the popularization of egg freezing has profound consequences for the way in which female fertility and reproductive aging are understood, commercialized and politicized.
Beyond an individual reproductive choice for people who may want to have children later in life, Freezing Fertility explores how the rise of egg freezing also reveals broader cultural, political and economic negotiations about reproductive politics, gender inequities, age normativities and the financialization of healthcare. Van de Wiel investigates these issues by analyzing a wide range of sources-varying from sparkly online platforms to heart-breaking court cases and intimate autobiographical accounts-that are emblematic of each stage of the egg freezing procedure. By following the egg's journey, Freezing Fertility examines how contemporary egg freezing practices both reflect broader social, regulatory and economic power asymmetries and repoliticize fertility and aging in ways that affect the public at large. In doing so, the book explores how the possibility of egg freezing shifts our relation to the beginning and end of life.
This volume is a brilliant foray into the contested world of egg freezing, taking readers on a journey with the human egg from its in vivo existence in ovaries and wombs to ex vivo sites of cryostorage, finance, and experimentation. Offering the single best analysis of the precarious relationship between fertility, reproductive technology, and women's aging, Freezing Fertility is a must-read for gender, STS, and cultural studies scholars, as well as anyone interested in the future of assisted reproduction. -- Marcia C. Inhorn, author of Cosmopolitan Conceptions: IVF Sojourns in Global Dubai Lucy van de Wiel's Freezing Fertility brilliantly investigates fertile embodiment through a transnational exploration of human fertility preservation practices. Egg freezing, a recent biotechnological innovation, enhances corporeal capacities and transforms the temporality of everyday life. Her germinal analysis offers powerful interpretations of emerging cultural anxieties when we interrupt the imperative of 'a biological clock'. -- Lisa Jean Moore, author of Catch and Release: The Enduring Yet Vulnerable Horseshoe Crab In this beautifully-written and thought-provoking book, Lucy van de Wiel follows the egg from ovary to freezer and beyond. Grappling with the social, ethical, and economic complexities of egg freezing, she offers a vital contribution to debates about gender, reproduction, and aging. -- Rene Almeling, author of Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm