Egg-freezing rhetoric poses major ideological struggle for American women

Facebook and Apple’s offer to cover the costs of egg freezing for their employees has made a large range of headlines. “Not since the birth control pill has a medical technology had such potential to change family and career planning,” wrote Bloomberg Businessweek’s Emma Rosenblum. Egg freezing touches on several fraught questions, from the health risks the largely unregulated procedure poses, to its potential for undermining family-friendly policies in the workplace. There is, however, a rapidly growing market for this new technology: Young, healthy women who are not likely to be experiencing fertility issues but who will nevertheless pay thousands of dollars to preserve their fertility and postpone childbearing.

As a 25-year-old modern American woman in this demographic, I am confused. Everywhere I turn, I see mixed messages. We are told to lean in. We are told to recline. We are told we should want to have it all. We are told we cannot have it all. We grow up learning about and using various forms of contraception and then, when we’re “launched” and finding our footing in fledgling careers and relationships, we are besieged with warnings about our fading fertility and urged to consider freezing our eggs—yesterday.

When it comes to fertility, the United States is schizophrenic. The “don’t get pregnant” gospel women grow up hearing clashes with the current rhetoric urging us to think seriously about our fertility and take drastic measures to secure it. What’s more: There does not seem to be any breathing room between this “prevent birth” and “preserve fertility” logic. The modern woman (ideally) uses some form of birth control as soon as she becomes sexually active; then, suddenly, she’s in her late 20s or early 30s and is urged to consider exchanging the Pill for fertility hormones.

If ovaries could talk, I think it’s safe to say many would be muttering in exasperation.

Read full, original article: A Modern Woman’s Burden

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