Centre for Women’s Studies, University of Hyderabad organised a panel discussion on “The Egg Freezing Controversy” at 2 pm on 17th November 2014 at the Conference Hall, School of Social Sciences. The panel opened with the welcome remarks of the moderator Prof. K. Suneetha Rani about the context and relevance of the panel as part of the discourse on the politics woven around women’s bodies and lives. Prof. Geeta Vemuganti, Dean, School of Medical Sciences, University of Hyderabad explained the process of conception and the evolution of the ovum into a foetus. She emphasized that egg is only one part and stage of conception and that there should be several other favourable conditions for a child to take birth. Dr. Usha Raman, Head, Dept of Communication, University of Hyderabad focused on the representation of the egg freezing in media.
Employers in Silicon Valley gave an option for their women employees to freeze their eggs to have them fertilise at a later date. This move, though seen as a concern for women employees is only a means of escaping from providing maternity leave and benefits to the women employees. Motherhood does not end with child birth but begins with it. Postponing the pregnancy does not help women much when compared to providing them better work conditions. Prof. N. Vasanthi, faculty, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad and a Visiting Fellow, Centre for Women’s Studies, University of Hyderabad offered a critique of the egg freezing from a legal perspective. She discussed the women’s rights in family and work place and the patriarchal interferences and pressures that attempt to influence women’s bodies and lives at the personal as well the institutional levels.
The panel discussion was followed by a thoughtful discussion with engaged questions from the audience.