Katie Hammond, a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology researching the experience of egg donation in Canada, discusses the recent decision by tech giants Facebook and Apple to offer egg freezing to female employees, and why she co-authored a recent commentary on this subject.
Recently, Facebook and Apple announced their decision to offer to pay for female employees to freeze their eggs, in theory, allowing women to ‘have it all’ – to pursue their career aspirations and to have biologically related ‘children’. The announcement by these companies has generated much international debate about social egg freezing itself, and the companies’ offer. While proponents of social egg freezing argue that it is liberating for women, opponents contest that the technology provides an individualist solution to a social problem.
In October 2012, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine declared that egg freezing should no longer be considered experimental. As a young woman scholar of assistive reproductive technologies I have spent much time considering the debates in favor and opposing this technology.
Much of what has been written about egg freezing has come from women, often older, with families, and more established in their careers. Along with three other scholars of assistive reproductive technologies, Alana Cattapan, Lesley Tarasoff, and Jennie Haw, we sought to explore this question regarding the empowerment of these technologies, and to offer our perspective, as women at whom these types of technologies are directed. Coinciding with the media reports about Apple and Facebook was the publication, in the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics (IJFAB), of a piece we wrote that arose from our discussion and debate of the topic.