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


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

 

Duration:

Phase 1: Aug 2016- Jan 2018

Funding: The Minerva Stiftung Post-Doctoral Fellowship

Phase 2: 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]

Technological advancements in reproductive medicine have introduced the new concept of "FREEZING". Nowadays, women are given the possibility to cryopreserve their oocytes in order to prolong their fertility, a procedure known as "social egg freezing" (SEF). 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'.

SEF is a technology which enables women to disconnect their reproductive potential from its bound biological rhythms. It therefore constitutes an extremely fascinating paradigm for studying concepts of time, timing, planning and their social-technological manipulation (e.g. in the context of familial and reproductive decisions as well as labor related time allocation).

The research aims to examine the interplay of culture and bioethics in an interdisciplinary and empirical manner, focusing on and comparing experts' and lay perspectives 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: 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: qualitative semi-structured interviews with social egg freezing users and analysis of users' Internet forums.

Research Objectives:

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

(b) A double comparative analysis of social egg freezing by comparing two national contexts as well as experts and ordinary (lay) moralities

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

Presentation

  • February 2018: Social Egg Freezing and Reproductive Temporalities – A comparative study of experts’ debates in Germany and Israel. Paper presented at the Institut für Medizingeschichte und Wissenschaftsforschung Colloquium, Lübeck University, Germany (Invited talk).
  • 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.