Lucy van de WielMay 12, 2021
Oocyte Cryopreservation and the Gender Politics of Aging
NYU Press 2020
How does egg freezing reshape our conception of time, aging and fertility? In her new monograph, Freezing Fertility: Oocyte Cryopreservation and the Gender Politics of Aging (NYU Press, 2020) Dr. Lucy van de Wiel explores the significance of egg freezing in re-orienting the temporality of the gender politics of aging. Dr. van de Wiel argues that it is critical to examine the politicized dimensions of egg freezing because it transforms the broader discourses around aging and normative timeline of women's reproduction even though the technology is only accessible for an elite few.
Through a cultural analysis of popular media and documentaries to highlight the role of rhetoric in creating conditions that motivate women in making decisions about their reproductive futures, Dr. van de Wiel criticizes the moralistic boundaries between social and medical utilized by some state actors to condemn women who decide to freeze their eggs for their careers. Dr. van de Wiel also highlights the role of financialized capitalism in refiguring fertility under the investment logic of optimization to speculate on the potential risks posed by anticipated infertility. Egg freezing technology shows us how the biopolitical control of population shifted to managing fertility, which transcends national borders as frozen eggs circulate transnationally for assisted reproduction as well as stem cell research. An incredibly rich and nuanced book, Freezing Fertility would be an invaluable read for anyone who is interested in the politics of reproduction, ART, gendered politics of aging, mortality, life, and regeneration.
Dr. Lucy van de Wiel is a Research Associate at the Reproductive Sociology Research Group (ReproSoc), University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on the social and cultural analysis of assisted reproductive technologies like egg freezing, time-lapse embryo selection and cross-border reproductive care.
Da In Ann Choi is a PhD student at UCLA in the Gender Studies department. Her research interests include care labor and migration, reproductive justice, social movement, citizenship theory, and critical empire studies. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.