The egg freezing trifecta: medical, elective, and transgender fertility preservation

Marcia C. Inhorn, Daphna Birenbaum-Carmeli, Pasquale Patrizio

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In 1978, Louise Brown, the world's first "test-tube baby," was born in England, allowing her infertile parents to overcome nine years of involuntary childlessness. Forty years later, more than 8 million in vitro fertilization babies had been born, representing at least 4% of all children in Western societies. The most recently conceived assisted reproductive technology is oocyte cryopreservation, more commonly known as egg freezing. From its inception, egg freezing has been hotly contested. Through in-depth ethnographic interviews carried out with nearly 200 individuals who froze their eggs in either the United States or Israel, the authors demonstrate the existence of an egg freezing trifecta involving three major forms: medical egg freezing for cancer patients facing fertility emergencies; elective egg freezing for single women without stable reproductive partnerships; and transgender egg freezing for transmen wishing to preserve their biogenetic parenthood potential prior to transitioning.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to the Anthropology of Reproductive Medicine and Technology
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781119845379
ISBN (Print)9781119845348
StatePublished - 21 Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Published 2024 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Assisted reproductive technology
  • Cancer patients
  • Egg freezing
  • Elective egg freezing
  • Fertility emergencies
  • In vitro fertilization
  • Medical egg freezing
  • Reproductive partnerships
  • Test-tube baby
  • Transgender egg freezing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Medicine


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