Egg Freezing and the Feminist Quest for Equality in the Workplace

  • Karey HarwoodEmail author
Conference paper


This chapter examines how non-medical egg freezing fits into the feminist quest for equality in the workplace. After describing current American trends in the use of non-medical egg freezing, as well as current trends in women’s employment and delayed childbearing, I examine the argument that egg freezing could potentially function as “reproductive affirmative action” for women pursuing careers, leveling the reproductive playing field by elongating the time women have to pursue education and careers while still allowing them to conceive using their own eggs. I challenge this argument’s reliance on a fiction of planning and control, as well as its willingness to shift the burden of work-family conflict to individual women. I argue that this fiction of planning and control fits too conveniently with the opportunity to profit from a procedure that carries health risks and a relatively low probability of success. I also argue that shifting the burden to individual women to accommodate work structures is not preferable to changing work structures to accommodate women, primarily because deflecting responsibility for a needed structural change does little to create lasting justice. Rather than providing reproductive affirmative action, egg freezing may work at cross-purposes with ongoing efforts to make real structural changes in the American workplace.


Egg freezing Reproduction Work-family conflict Delayed childbearing 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Religious StudiesNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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