Freezing Fertility

Freezing Fertility:  Oocyte Cryopreservation and Ageing

Lucy van de Wiel | Supervisors Mieke Bal and Jose van Dijck | University of Amsterdam 2011-2015

The basis of my research is the triangulation of the technology of oocyte cryopreservation, its representation in the popular imagination and a concept that is surprisingly under theorised in the study of culture: ageing.  Reshuffling the abilities of the reproductive body, oocyte cryopreservation reveals the modes of thinking employed to give cultural and political shape to biotechnologies and the bodies they engage with. Given the recent development and implementation of oocyte cryopreservation, I propose a unique and topical project that will be the first book-length study within the humanities of a technology that potentially has far-reaching consequences on contemporary thinking about female fertility and ageing. Taking oocyte cryopreservation and the reproductive body as starting point, my project will approach ‘ageing’ as a cultural construct by positioning it in a media and historical framework, developing it in relation to the theoretical concepts of performativity and corporeality, temporality, spatiality and integrating these notions within globalised techno-human networks.