Freeze the Biological Clock: Discrimination, Disrespect, and Fertility Preservation via Social Freezing
New publication from Viki Møller Lyngby Pedersen in Journal of Applied Philosophy
Social egg freezing is when healthy and fertile women freeze their eggs in order to preserve fertility and delay childbearing for non-medical reasons. Many countries have restrictions on social egg freezing, but not on medical egg freezing. Moreover, only some of those countries have similar restrictions on social sperm freezing. Across these cases, I argue that restrictions on social egg freezing are discriminatory against women compared to men and against healthy women compared to those with medical conditions threatening their fertility. Introducing restrictions that apply to the freezing of both male and female gametes is, however, merely indirectly discriminatory. Moreover, I provide arguments to the effect that the discrimination at issue is of a wrongful kind. Drawing on an influential theory of wrongful discrimination originally introduced by Benjamin Eidelson, I show how restrictions on social egg freezing manifest disrespect for women (with no medical conditions jeopardizing their fertility). Specifically, I defend the view that introducing such policies involves unjustified differential concern for people's interests.