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Disentangling the individualisation argument against non-medical egg freezing from feminist critiques
  1. Lisa Campo-Engelstein
  1. Institute for Bioethics & Health Humanities, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lisa Campo-Engelstein, Institute for Bioethics & Health Humanities, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, TX 77550, USA; licampoe{at}

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According to Petersen, ‘the individualization argument against NMEF [nonmedical egg freezing]’ states: ‘it is morally wrong to let individuals use technology X [NMEF] – in order to try to handle a problem that is social in nature – if the use of X [NMEF] will somehow work against a social solution to a social problem P [gender inequality in the labor market]’. While there may be individuals making individualisation argument against NMEF, I do not read the scholars he discusses—Karey Harwood,1 2 Lynn Morgan, Janelle Taylor3 and Angel Petrapanagos4—as making this argument. These scholars agree with the premise of the individualisation argument that NMEF ‘is an individualistic and morally problematic solution to the social problems that women face’ (p. 4), but this does not mean that they agree with the conclusion ‘women should not use NMEF’ (p. 4). In fact, several admit that NMEF can be a good choice for some women; Petropanagos, for example, states ‘individual women may benefit from egg freezing to satisfy their reproductive desires’.4 In this commentary, I argue that Petersen incorrectly reduces these scholars’ positions to the individualisation argument by neglecting three pertinent factors: their feminist orientation, their multifaceted critiques of NMEF and how the rapidly advancing field of reproductive medicine informs their ethical analysis.

While Petersen …

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  • Contributors LC-E is the sole author of this work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology was the first to condone NMEF in 2012 in part due to cultural values.6

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