Egg freezing has led to heated debates in healthcare policy and bioethics. A crucial issue in this context concerns the distinction between “medical” and “social” egg freezing (MEF and SEF)—contrasting objections to bio-medicalization with claims for oversimplification. Yet such categorization remains a criterion for regulation. This paper aims to explore the “regulatory boundary-work” around the “medical”–”social” distinction in different egg freezing regulations. Based on systematic documents’ analysis we present a cross-national comparison of the way the “medical”–”social” differentiation finds expression in regulatory frameworks in Austria, Germany, Israel, and the Netherlands. Findings are organized along two emerging themes: (1) the definition of MEF and its distinctiveness—highlighting regulatory differences in the clarity of the definition and in the medical indications used for creating it (less clear in Austria and Germany, detailed in Israel and the Netherlands); and (2) hierarchy of medical over social motivations reflected in usage and funding regulations. Blurred demarcation lines between “medical” and “social” are further discussed as representing a paradoxical inclusion of SEF while offering new insights into the complexity and normativity of this distinction. Finally, we draw conclusions for policymaking and the bioethical debate, also concerning the related cryopolitical aspects.
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||Journal of Bioethical Inquiry|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 16 Nov 2021|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Open Access funding enabled and organized by projekt DEAL. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 749889. This project has furthermore received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 707404. The opinions expressed in this document reflect only the authors’ views. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains. The project also received funding
© 2021, The Author(s).