Lucy van de Wiel is a Research Associate at the Reproductive Sociology Research Group (ReproSoc) at the University of Cambridge. For the next three years, she will lead the 'Extending In/Fertilities' network within ReproSoc's Wellcome-funded Changing Infertilities collaborative research project starting in autumn 2018. Her research focuses on egg freezing and the gender politics of ageing; the datafication of reproduction through the introduction of new data technologies in IVF; and the political economy of contemporary assisted reproduction. Her current book project is called Freezing Fertility: Oocyte Cryopreservation and the Gender Politics of Reproductive Ageing.
Alongside her research, she currently coordinates the Wellcome-funded Life in Glass public engagement project within ReproSoc, which includes the development of Dish Life, a mobile game app about stem cells, Reproductivities, an art exhibition about plant and human reproduction at Murray Edwards College, and Timeless, a fictional pop-up shop that was installed at the world's largest fertility trade shows.
She received her PhD in 2015 at the University of Amsterdam and won the 2016 ASCA Award for best dissertation as well as the 2017 Erasmus Research Prize. She pursued postgraduate studies as a HSP and Fulbright grantee in Rhetorics at the University of California, Berkeley, holds a Research MA in Cultural Analysis (cum laude) from the University of Amsterdam and an MA in Film Curating (with distinction) from the London Film School and London Consortium, University of London.
Lucy van de Wiel's research focuses on the interdisciplinary study of egg freezing, a reproductive technology used to 'preserve fertility' in women who may want to have genetically-related children later in life. Her research explores how the possibility of freezing one's eggs changes what it means to be fertile, and what it means to age, in the 21st century. This question is at the heart of her current book project on egg freezing, titled Freezing Fertility: Oocyte Cryopreservation and the Gender Politics of Reproductive Ageing.
At the Turing Institute, she is developing a new research project on the datafication of reproduction, which deals with the intersection of data technologies and reproductive technologies. This research explores how reproductive decisions such as which embryo to implant in the womb are increasingly made in conjunction with data technologies and the large data sets they generate. It is primarily concerned with data-driven embryo selection technologies, such as time-lapse embryo imaging and pre-implantation genetic screening. The project both considers the role of these technologies in patients' and medical professionals' treatment experiences and characterises the broader political-economic and socio-cultural drivers of their emergence in contemporary IVF.