'I suppose I think to myself, that's the best way to be a mother': how ideologies of parenthood shape women’s reproductive intentions and their use of social egg freezing
The age distribution of women giving birth in England and Wales, as well as many other Western countries, has changed significantly in recent decades with growing numbers of women having children later in their reproductive lives. However, motherhood at an older age is positively associated with greater risks to mother and child including complications during pregnancy and birth as well as an increased risk of age-related infertility. In response to the increasing numbers of women attempting childbearing at an older age, a new form of technology has emerged, one which has the promissory potential to enable women to preserve a number of healthy young eggs for potential future use after the decline of their nature fertility. This technology is egg freezing, or as it is often referred, egg freezing for social reasons. This paper will examine the technology of egg freezing and its use for social reasons and will argue that current lay and media representations of this technology which infer a deliberative 'choice' on behalf of the user to delay motherhood, to pursue career advancement, does not adequately or accurately reflect the experiences of women engaging with this technology. Instead, and by drawing on data collected in 31 interviews with female users of this technology, this paper will suggest that women's decision to engage in egg freezing as well as their perceptions about the timing of motherhood can be seen as being shaped by contemporary parenting culture and ideologies of parenthood. Furthermore, this paper will examine how these ideologies and expectations about parenthood are shaped by the demographic profile of the users of this technology.
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Citation : Baldwin, K. (2017) 'I Suppose I Think to Myself, That's the Best Way to Be a Mother': How Ideologies of Parenthood Shape Women's Use for Social Egg Freezing Technology. Sociological Research Online, 22 (2), p.2
Research Group : Centre for Reproduction Research
Research Institute : Centre for Reproduction Research (CRR)
Peer Reviewed : Yes