Unveiling the controversy on egg freezing in TheNetherlands: A Q-methodology study on women’sviewpoints

Johanna Kostenzer, AME Bos, Antoinette Bont, Job Exel

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7 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Preserving the option to conceive through egg freezing (oocyte cryopreservation) is surrounded by value conflicts and diverse viewpoints, particularly when non-medical or so-called ‘social’ reasons are involved. The debate is controversial and shaped by normative perceptions of the life course, including concepts regarding reproductive ageing, gender, motherhood and biomedicalization. To unravel the controversy and systematically identify the variety of viewpoints on egg freezing, a Q-methodology study was conducted in The Netherlands between December 2018 and October 2019. Thirty-four women of reproductive age participated in the study. They ranked 40 statements according to their level of agreement, and explained their ranking during follow-up interviews. Data were analysed using by-person factor analysis and interpreted using both quantitative and qualitative data. Four viewpoints, of which the fourth was bipolar, were identified: (1) cautious about egg freezing technology; (2) my body, my choice; (3) egg freezing is unnatural; and (4) have children and have them early. The distinct viewpoints illustrate different prioritizations of values and normative dimensions of biomedical innovations. By knowing more about the prevalent opinions on egg freezing and the surrounding controversy, policy makers and practitioners can make better informed decisions in terms of promoting and providing patient-centred infertility care. The findings furthermore stimulate continuing scholarly work on egg freezing and other innovations in reproductive medicine which may continue to disrupt normative standards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-43
Number of pages12
JournalReproductive Biomedicine & Society Online
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank the respondents and pilot study participants for their contribution to this study, and the members of the Health Care Governance Section at Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this article. This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No. 707404. The opinions expressed in this article reflect the authors’ views alone. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank the respondents and pilot study participants for their contribution to this study, and the members of the Health Care Governance Section at Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this article. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No. 707404. The opinions expressed in this article reflect the authors’ views alone. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors

Research programs

  • ESHPM - non EUR result
  • EMC NIHES-05-63-02 Quality

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