Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Is Egg Freezing Only for White Women?
New York Times (May 21, 2016): Is Egg Freezing Only for White Women?, by Reniqua Allen:
When her most recent intimate relationship ended, Reniqua Allen considered freezing her eggs. Though marketed as a technique to help women gain control over their reproductive lives, including having children to raise alone, egg freezing, as Allen discovered, appears to be a procedure that few black women are considering. The reason is in part marketing: infertility care websites and advertisements spill over with images of happy white families. But Allen also wonders whether the negative stereotype of the single black mother in the United States was driving black women away from this form of assisted reproduction.
Poor black women are criticized for having too many babies they “can’t afford” and professional middle-class black women are criticized for being too picky and not finding a man. But when professional white women follow these same patterns, it’s often labeled a trend or brave or empowering.
In her research, Allen discovered that slowly the terms of the conversation around egg freezing are changing, allowing room for black women at the margins. Whether to embrace egg freezing or reject it is not an easy choice. The choice could be driven by what Allen refers to as "respectability politics" or even unresolved issues she has with her father. Her fervent hope is that whatever choice she makes, she can play a part in making "unconventional decisions the norm."