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RHEA Research Seminar with Michiel De Proost

RHEA Research Seminar with Michiel De Proost: « ‘It gives me a false form of reassurance or control’: an empirical ethical approach of social egg freezing »

A growing number of healthy women in different countries are freezing their eggs to anticipate declining infertility. The international scientific community and the media commonly describe this process by the term ‘social freezing’. Compelling ethical debates about this topic often focus on issues such as reproductive autonomy and gender equality. Despite some opposition due to the lack of effectiveness and the promotion of false hope, social freezing rapidly grew into a regular procedure in several clinics. Furthermore, there is little empirical evidence of those who can access this fertility industry to support the range of views that have been expressed regarding the ethical aspects and social impact of this technology.

In this presentation I will present the preliminary findings of my qualitative research with women who are interested in social egg freezing. I focus on how the women in this study understood choice and how their moral understandings are influenced by gender norms, genetic thinking, temporality and life planning. Finally, I reflect on the alignment of these experiences with a relational conception of autonomy and reproductive justice.