A SYTYCB entry
In the mail this morning I received a copy of the libertarian Reason magazine with my name on it that must have been sent to me by my conservative brother. I’ll read anything that you put in front of me so I began flipping through it. I came across an article that caught my eye titled “Resetting your biological clock: Egg freezing opens up new frontiers in gender equality” and obviously I had to read it.
Egg freezing is a process that takes a woman’s eggs and freezes them for future use. The purpose is so that women can have the option to have babies later in life, when they are not as likely to be able to do so biologically. The author of this article, Ronald Bailey, argues that this will increase gender equality because it gives women the same opportunity to choose when they can conceive as men. It takes away from the stress of the “biological clock.” He makes a good point. Now women have the option to not only choose when not to have a baby (with birth control) but they can choose when they want to have a baby as well. This provides women with the opportunity to build a career and then choose to have a baby later in life. Sounds pretty good right?
What Bailey fails to mention in his article is the cost of this procedure. According to this article on NPR the entire procedure could end up costing up to $40,000 in total. How many women have that kind of money? Not to mention the procedure is not guaranteed to work and is still in an experimental phase. You’d have to be seriously rich to lay down that kind of money on something that may not even work.
Could this procedure be considered a step for feminism? With the high price and the small amount of women who can afford it I would definitely say no. Rachel Lehmann-Haupt says that this procedure could be as “revolutionary as the birth control pill.” The difference is that birth control is available to all women and is much easier to afford. I can’t support something as feminist if it excludes such a large group of women. Italian doctor Eleanor Porcu argues that this process is “harmful to feminism” because it overrides the fight for women to be free to get pregnant at a young age. The biggest thing stopping women from getting pregnant young is work. Instead of trying to make it so that women can get pregnant when they are done working we should be focusing on work benefits that could allow women to have both. This procedure is also largely a capitalist enterprise, exploiting the emotions and needs of women for profit. Feminism and capitalism have never gotten along.
Once a procedure like this enters a stage where it is no longer considered experimental and is available and affordable to all women it could absolutely be a big step for women. However it is important to understand that not all women want to have children, as Bailey insinuates in his article. The way this process is being marketed goes back to the idea that women exist solely for the purpose of having babies, and this simply is not true. Sure there are plenty of women who want children but there are also plenty who don’t. I also think that in this discussion people should consider adoption as an option. With this procedure being so expensive and potentially ineffective adoption provides a much easier alternative.