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The Egg Freezing Revolution? Gender, Technology, and Reproductive Waithood

05. Novem­ber 2021 

The Egg Freez­ing Rev­o­lu­tion? Gen­der, Tech­nol­o­gy, and Repro­duc­tive Wait­hood by Mar­cia C. Inhorn Webinar.

The Egg Freez­ing Rev­o­lu­tion? Gen­der, Tech­nol­o­gy, and Repro­duc­tive Wait­hood by Mar­cia C. Inhorn

Date: Nov 5, 2021

Time: 1:00pm—2:30pm (GMT+1) Lis­bon Time

Sin­gle pro­fes­sion­al women in their late 30s are increas­ing­ly opt­ing for oocyte cry­op­reser­va­tion (egg freez­ing) as a way to pre­serve their fer­til­i­ty. Con­trary to media reports, which sug­gest that women’s “self­ish” career ambi­tions are the main deter­mi­nant of women’s fer­til­i­ty post­pone­ment, women them­selves offer dif­fer­ent expla­na­tions for their fer­til­i­ty preser­va­tion. Indeed, the grow­ing momen­tum toward egg freez­ing masks an under­ly­ing but lit­tle dis­cussed glob­al real­i­ty: Name­ly, women in the Unit­ed States and more than half the world’s nations are out­strip­ping men in high­er edu­ca­tion, result­ing in the lack of edu­cat­ed, eli­gi­ble, and equal part­ners with whom to pur­sue mar­riage and child­bear­ing. In this ethno­graph­ic study of more than 100 high­ly edu­cat­ed, Amer­i­can pro­fes­sion­al women, most lament­ed this mat­ing gap, which was the main rea­son for their pur­suit of fer­til­i­ty preser­va­tion. Although egg freez­ing has been tout­ed for its “rev­o­lu­tion­ary” potential—namely, as an empow­er­ing tech­nol­o­gy that cre­ates new career options and fam­i­ly for­ma­tions such as “sin­gle moth­er­hood by choice”—egg freez­ing today is rarely expe­ri­enced by high­ly edu­cat­ed sin­gle women in these fem­i­nist terms. Rather, egg freez­ing is cost­ly tech­no­log­i­cal con­ces­sion to grow­ing gen­der inequal­i­ties, where­by edu­cat­ed women are lit­er­al­ly “buy­ing time” while expe­ri­enc­ing repro­duc­tive wait­hood beyond their indi­vid­ual con­trol.

Bio: Mar­cia C. Inhorn, PhD, MPH, is the William K. Lan­man Jr. Pro­fes­sor of Anthro­pol­o­gy and Inter­na­tion­al Affairs at Yale Uni­ver­si­ty. A med­ical anthro­pol­o­gist spe­cial­iz­ing in gen­der and repro­duc­tive health, Inhorn is the author of six books on infer­til­i­ty and assist­ed repro­duc­tive tech­nolo­gies, and is com­plet­ing her sev­enth book on The Mat­ing Gap: Why Amer­i­can Women Are Freez­ing Their Eggs.

This webi­nar will take place online via Zoom.
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After reg­is­ter­ing, a sep­a­rate Zoom reg­is­tra­tion link will be emailed to you.

The sem­i­nar is sup­port­ed by the Depart­ment of Life Sci­ences and Research Cen­ter for Anthro­pol­o­gy and Health (CIAS), Uni­ver­si­ty of Coim­bra.

Webi­nar Con­venors: Dr. Loret­ta Lou (Uni­ver­si­ty of Macau), Prof. Gonça­lo San­tos (Uni­ver­si­ty of Coim­bra) and Dr. Yichen Rao (Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan).

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