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Does company-sponsored egg freezing promote or confine women's reproductive autonomy?

Heidi Mertes (UGent)
Author
Organization
Abstract
Purpose A critical ethical analysis of the initiative of several companies to cover the costs of oocyte cryopreservation for their healthy employees. The main research question is whether such policies promote or confine women’s reproductive autonomy. Results A distinction needs to be made between the ethics of AGE banking in itself and the ethics of employers offering it to their employees. Although the utility of the former is expected to be low, there are few persuasive arguments to deny access to oocyte cryopreservation to women who are well informed about the procedure and the success rates. However, it does not automatically follow that it would be ethically unproblematic for employers to offer egg banking to their employees. Conclusions For these policies to be truly ‘liberating’, a substantial number of conditions need to be fulfilled, which can be reduced to three categories: (1) women should understand the benefits, risks and limitations, (2) women should feel no pressure to take up the offer; (3) the offer should have no negative effect on other family-friendly policies and should in fact be accompanied by such policies. Fulfilling these conditions may turn out to be impossible. Thus, regardless of companies’ possible good intentions, women’s reproductive autonomy is not well served by offering them company-sponsored AGE banking.
Keywords
ethics, AGE banking, oocyte cryopreservation, fertility preservation, reproductive autonomy, social egg freezing, OOCYTE BANKING, TECHNOLOGY

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Mertes, Heidi. “Does Company-sponsored Egg Freezing Promote or Confine Women’s Reproductive Autonomy?” JOURNAL OF ASSISTED REPRODUCTION AND GENETICS 32.8 (2015): 1205–1209. Print.
APA
Mertes, H. (2015). Does company-sponsored egg freezing promote or confine women’s reproductive autonomy? JOURNAL OF ASSISTED REPRODUCTION AND GENETICS, 32(8), 1205–1209.
Chicago author-date
Mertes, Heidi. 2015. “Does Company-sponsored Egg Freezing Promote or Confine Women’s Reproductive Autonomy?” Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics 32 (8): 1205–1209.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Mertes, Heidi. 2015. “Does Company-sponsored Egg Freezing Promote or Confine Women’s Reproductive Autonomy?” Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics 32 (8): 1205–1209.
Vancouver
1.
Mertes H. Does company-sponsored egg freezing promote or confine women’s reproductive autonomy? JOURNAL OF ASSISTED REPRODUCTION AND GENETICS. 2015;32(8):1205–9.
IEEE
[1]
H. Mertes, “Does company-sponsored egg freezing promote or confine women’s reproductive autonomy?,” JOURNAL OF ASSISTED REPRODUCTION AND GENETICS, vol. 32, no. 8, pp. 1205–1209, 2015.
@article{6844122,
  abstract     = {Purpose

A critical ethical analysis of the initiative of several companies to cover the costs of oocyte cryopreservation for their healthy employees. The main research question is whether such policies promote or confine women’s reproductive autonomy.
Results

A distinction needs to be made between the ethics of AGE banking in itself and the ethics of employers offering it to their employees. Although the utility of the former is expected to be low, there are few persuasive arguments to deny access to oocyte cryopreservation to women who are well informed about the procedure and the success rates. However, it does not automatically follow that it would be ethically unproblematic for employers to offer egg banking to their employees.
Conclusions

For these policies to be truly ‘liberating’, a substantial number of conditions need to be fulfilled, which can be reduced to three categories: (1) women should understand the benefits, risks and limitations, (2) women should feel no pressure to take up the offer; (3) the offer should have no negative effect on other family-friendly policies and should in fact be accompanied by such policies. Fulfilling these conditions may turn out to be impossible. Thus, regardless of companies’ possible good intentions, women’s reproductive autonomy is not well served by offering them company-sponsored AGE banking.},
  author       = {Mertes, Heidi},
  issn         = {1058-0468},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF ASSISTED REPRODUCTION AND GENETICS},
  keywords     = {ethics,AGE banking,oocyte cryopreservation,fertility preservation,reproductive autonomy,social egg freezing,OOCYTE BANKING,TECHNOLOGY},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {8},
  pages        = {1205--1209},
  title        = {Does company-sponsored egg freezing promote or confine women's reproductive autonomy?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10815-015-0500-8},
  volume       = {32},
  year         = {2015},
}

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