The Biomedicalization of Social Egg Freezing: A Comparative Analysis of European and American Professional Ethics Opinions and US News and Popular Media

Rajani Bhatia, Lisa Campo-Engelstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In 2012, two major professional societies representing Europe and the United States released influential statements that would propel a commercial market for social egg freezing (SEF), in which women bank their oocytes for later use in order to avoid compromised fertility that comes with age. While the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) condoned SEF based on reproductive autonomy and justice, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) discouraged SEF based on insufficient data and concerns about false hope. In this article, we map the contexts and discursive moves by which the biomedicalization of SEF proceeded since 2012. We compare professional bioethical arguments that made the case to approve SEF in Europe with news and popular media discourse that formed and shaped the commercial marketization of SEF in the United States despite the recommendation of the ASRM. While a statist pronatalist perspective informed the former, a distinctly private labor market recruitment strategy utilizing a Lean In efficiency model of feminism buttressed the latter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)864-887
Number of pages24
JournalScience Technology and Human Values
Volume43
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • bioethics
  • biomedicalization
  • reproductive justice
  • social egg freezing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Human-Computer Interaction

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