Launch of new egg freezing pop-up shop as survey reveals major shift in attitudes among young women
In response to growing public interest in egg freezing, this March a fictional beauty brand called Timeless will ‘pop-up’ in London’s Old Street (29 February – 5 March 2016). The store will engage women with the issue of fertility and explore how social egg freezing may impact the world of work, relationships and wider society in the future. Social egg freezing is the freezing of women’s eggs for lifestyle as opposed to medical reasons.
The unique pop-up brings the medical and social issues around this sensitive subject to life through the products of a woman’s beauty store, creating an imaginative and informative intervention into people’s daily lives.
The shop will feature a range of provocative beauty products including a ‘3-Step Solution for egg freezing’, a bespoke perfume line called ‘Eau so Pressured’, and a range of age defying serums that inform about fertility decline. It will also feature a short film and a programme of live talks by leading experts in reproductive medicine and gender politics, and women with first hand experience of egg freezing.
The project has been designed and led by UK-based creative consultancy The Liminal Space with support from the Wellcome Trust and expert advice and research from The Liminal Space recognised a significant lack of information and debate about egg freezing in the public domain despite its rapidly growing popularity, and created Timeless to address this information gap. The shop uses creative methods to make a relevant and challenging topic accessible, removing the taboo that often surrounds reproductive issues, and encouraging people to have informed conversations about an area of life that affects us all.
Sarah Douglas and Amanda Gore, Directors at The Liminal Space, explain the importance of addressing this issue now, “Social egg freezing is a relatively new offer but one that could soon become as revolutionary to women’s life choices as the Pill. With companies such as Apple and Facebook including it as part of benefits packages, and some clinics promising egg freezing as an ‘insurance policy’, there is increasing pressure on women to consider freezing their eggs without fully considering the potential impact on the workplace, their relationships and wider society. With Timeless we are bringing this debate to people in a creative and engaging way.”
As part of the project The Liminal Space worked with ICM to poll more than 1,000 women from across England, Scotland and Wales. The poll revealed that women aged 18-24 are far more comfortable considering egg freezing as a way to improve career progression and control their lives than women of older ages. (84% of women aged 18-24 agreed that improving career options was a good reason for women to freeze their eggs, with 59% believing women should be encouraged to use egg freezing as a way to give them more reproductive autonomy).
The poll also showed that this younger generation of women are less concerned by the £10k price tag it can carry, and more open to the procedure being offered as part of a corporate benefits package – showing radically changing perceptions to egg freezing among young women. (20% of 18-24 female cohort would consider egg freezing at a cost of £10K).
Professor Emily Jackson, Professor of Law, London School of Economics and Political Science, added, “Does egg freezing represent an insurance policy against women’s biological clock, or is it more like buying an expensive lottery ticket? Women (and men) need clear and accessible information not only about egg freezing itself, but also about age-related fertility loss. Effective communication about medical risk is difficult, and the importance of the Timeless project is its use of innovative ways to provide user-friendly information about the risks, benefits and wider implications of egg freezing.”
Dr Tim Child, Medical Director, Oxford Fertility Unit, commented, “Women often come to the clinic too late for fertility treatment to work for them. We support the Timeless project because it brings the topic of fertility directly to young women, and provides a unique way to engage them in thinking about their fertility and the options available to them.”
Timeless is supported by an advisory group that includes leading experts in reproductive technology and social science from renowned organisations including Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital Assisted Conception Unit, The Oxford Fertility Unit, LSE’s Law Department, Progress Educational Trust and Future Foundation. The project was shaped alongside a number of professional women in their 30s with first-hand experience of social egg freezing, and the active participation of students from LSE.
The Timeless pop-up shop will be open at Old Street Station for one week only, from 29 February – 5 March 2016, 8am – 8pm.