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Call for Medical Doctoral Thesis

Timing Fertility: A Comparative Analysis of Time Constructions and the Social Practice of Egg-Freezing in Germany and Israel (TIMEGG)


Ongoing project; since August 2016:

Duration: Feb 2018- Jan 2020

Funding: The Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual-Fellowship (IF), Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, the European Commission [grant agreement No. 749889]

Duration: Aug 2016- Jan 2018

Funding: The Minerva Stiftung Post-Doctoral Fellowship


Contact

PI: Dr. Nitzan Rimon-Zarfaty
nitzan.rimon-zarfaty[at]medizin.uni-goettingen.de

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Silke Schicktanz
silke.schicktanz[at]medizin.uni-goettingen.de

Project Summary:

Technological advancements in reproductive medicine have introduced the new concept of "FREEZING". Nowadays, healthy women are given the possibility to cryopreserve their oocytes in order to prolong their fertility, a procedure known as "social egg freezing". There is an ongoing bioethical academic and public debate on the social and ethical implications of this practice. This socio-empirical research is interested in extending our understanding of the concept of "freezing" in broader contexts, while analyzing it through the prism of 'sociology of time'. Egg freezing constitutes an extremely fascinating paradigm for studying concepts of time, timing, planning and its social-technological manipulation related to modern life science. The research aims to examine the interplay of culture and bioethics in an interdisciplinary and empirical manner, focusing on and comparing experts' and lay positions and using a cross-cultural German-Israeli comparative research framework. This cross-cultural comparison is especially interesting since the German regulatory and legal framework regarding new reproductive technologies is rather restrictive, while the Israeli regulation has been identified as extremely permissive.

The ongoing project includes two main empirical phases: Phase 1:  Aug 2016- Jan 2018 (The Minerva Stiftung Post-Doctoral Fellowship)- included qualitative semi-structured interviews with German and Israeli experts and archive analysis for the establishment of a cross-cultural research framework. Phase 2: February 2018- Jan 2020 (The Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual-Fellowship)- Includes qualitative semi-structured interviews with social egg freezing users and textual analysis of users' internet forums.

Research Objectives:

(a) In-depth empirical analysis of time in the context of reproductive medicine

(b) A cross sectional analysis of social egg freezing by comparing two national contexts as well as experts and ordinary (lay) ethics

(c) Theorization of the time dimension for the relationship of reproduction, labor and gender

 

Presentation

• October 2017: Reproductive Timing: A comparative analysis of temporality constructions and the social practice of egg freezing in Germany and Israel. Paper presented at the conference 'Frozen: Social and Bioethical Aspects of Cryo-Fertility', Tel-Aviv, Israel (cfp).

• April 2017: The construction of time, timing and planning: A comparative case study of the social practice of egg freezing in Germany and Israel. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Minerva Stiftung Fellowship Program - as the representor of fellowships’ holders, the Max Planck institution, Munich, Germany (Invited talk).

• March 2017: TIMING FERTILIY: A Gender Sensitive Analysis of Time Constructions and the Social Practice of Egg-Freezing in Israel.  Paper presented at the conference: Politiken der Reproduktion – Politics of Reproduction, Hannover, Germany (cfp).

• January 2017: The construction of time, timing and planning: A comparative case study of the social practice of egg freezing in Germany and Israel. Paper presented at the Department of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine Colloquium, University Medical Center Gottingen, Germany (Invited talk).


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 749889.