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When Reproduction meets Ageing: The Science and Medicine of the Fertility Decline

Nolwenn Bühler
University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Product Details
05 May 2021
Emerald Publishing Limited
304 pages - 152 x 229mm
Emerald Studies in Reproduction, Culture and Society

What is really biological about the "biological clock" and how can we account for its embodied reality from a feminist perspective? Addressing long-standing questions about the articulation of the biological and the social in the making of bodies and identities, this book questions the nature of reproductive ageing, a taken for granted "fact of life" at the core of reproductive biomedicine. 

Opening the black box of the biological, it makes a way between essentialism and constructivism with the aim of accounting for its materiality, while also illuminating its political implications. Since the 1970s, alarming discourses about declining fertility and the difficulties of balancing work and family have flourished in Western countries, putting women’s reproductive age and the fertility decline to the centre of public and medical attention.  Reproductive biomedicine constitutes a specific domain invested with hopes for technological and medical answers and a new market for fertility extension technologies, such as social egg freezing, is developing. By following the biological-social entanglements (or the naturecultures) of age-related infertility in the science and medicine of reproduction, this study explores how age materializes and documents what happens when reproduction meets ageing. Deeply transdisciplinary, it questions what is fixed about the biology of the fertility decline in a way which adds complexity to debates about the biomedicalization of reproductive ageing.

Introduction: A Question of Age  
Chapter 1. Natures and Cultures: Divisions, Entanglements and Reconfigurations  
Chapter 2. The Science of Population and The Quest for Natural Fertility: What Age Becomes in Statistics 
Chapter 3. From Age to Ageing: Arts and The Science of ‘Old Eggs’  
Chapter 4. When Age Matters: The Statistics and Biology of Fertility Decline in Clinical Choreographies 
Chapter 5. Ageing Eggs, Ageless Mothers? Egg Donation and The Extension of Fertility  
Chapter 6. Eggs for Ever or The Prospect of Regeneration 
Conclusion: Rethinking The Materialisation of Age Through the Lens of Its Political Implications
Nolwenn Bühler is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities at the University of Neuchâte, Switzerland. She is also a Senior Researcher at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Her research focuses on the social study of science, biomedicine, health, and gender studies.

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