ABSTRACT. Increased interest in fertility preservation, informally called “social freezing,” prompted high profile US technology companies in 2014 to add coverage for the retrieval, freezing and storage of sex cells of eligible employees electing to delay family building. Although an extension of the generous family and health care benefits routinely awarded to tech sector workers, fears of hidden gender inequity and coercion now foreground sponsorship debates. Statistics on the negative effects of population infertility and the limited rate of preservation success by aging females are used to verify concerns. These considerations obscure realities of widespread ART use by US females and ethical recommendations for providing early counseling on preservation options to young oncology patients. To reconcile facts with perceptions, this paper considers dynamics of institutional change to evaluate corporate decisions to expand coverage. This review on preservation additionally examines challenges to employer support for women seeking access to similarly intended fertility control processes that alter the timing and spacing of births. Ultimately, it argues that aspects of isomorphism reframe reservations on corporate motives and expose the potential for tech worker fluencies to materially expand reproductive options through processes of organizational change.

Keywords: fertility preservation; employer coercion; neoinstitutionalism; bioethics

How to cite: Grant, Shelley (2016), “Employer Sponsored Fertility Preservation: Debating Institutional Promotion of Reproductive Procrastination or Choice,” Journal of Research in Gender Studies 6(2): 120–145.

Received 4 February 2016 • Received in revised form 29 October 2016
Accepted 30 October 2016 • Available online 10 November 2016


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Department of Sociology,
University of Washington

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