Is egg freezing feminist?

Janelle Taylor just posted the following two links to H-MEDANTHRO last week; the first is an editorial piece by Marcia Inhorn on CNN’s website exhorting women in their 30s to freeze their eggs (although with some reservations about the ways this technology might be used); the second is a response by Taylor and Lynn Morgan questioning whether that’s actually good advice: as they argue, freezing your eggs “represents an individualized, private, expensive, high-tech medical solution to what is fundamentally a collective, social problem”.  See also some of the comments on the CNN site (there are some thoughtful ones within the usual CNN comment drivel).

I wish we had a response from Inhorn to defend herself, as this feels a little unfair, but I wonder where you all fall on this debate.  This is a tricky question: should women embrace this technology as empowering them to balance both career and family, or will the net effect of egg freezing actually be to reinforce patriarchy?


2 thoughts on “Is egg freezing feminist?

  1. The idea of freezing my eggs has come into mind. Children are something I would want to have after I have finished school and started my career. Factoring in Peace Corps and Graduate school, I don’t see myself ready to “settle down” until at least 30. Given that risks go up with pregnancy after the age of 35, I saw it as a back up plan that allowed me not to rush things. However, after reading the side effects I can’t decide which is worse, risking health now, or later? – Shannon

  2. (Disclaimer: I did not read the source articles)

    Even though, yes, ostensibly, egg freezing seems like a liberating and empowering option: liberating from what and what power is it bestowing? I think this is a larger question of the values of society and the ultracompetitive nature of the work force: an “artificial” solution for an artificial problem. I’m not saying that egg freezing is a bad thing. I’m just saying that when it is conflated with job market politics, something is askew. As much as I like Inhorn, I think this kind of egg freezing is kind of a Pyrrhic victory, and to celebrate it is to accept the terms of the patriarchal debate.

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