A lecturer in fine art who had IVF prior to having twins has opened an exhibition to make sense of her experiences. El Morgan, who teaches at Leicestershire’s Loughborough University, gave birth to twins in 2019.
Yet, she pays annually to keep her 2018 IVF embryos frozen and kept in a Nottinghamshire facility.
The show, entitled Tale of the Frozen Pieces, examines the humans and animals engaged in embryo maintenance.
She stated that she began exploring the topic through IVF therapy.
“Outrageous and fascinating”
“In order to cope with the physical, financial, and emotional hardship of IVF, I regarded it as an artistic endeavor,” she added.
“It began when I was curious about the origin of the fertility medications I was injecting into my body every night and discovered that they were initially derived from the urine of nuns.
“I wanted to investigate how this occurred and discovered that in the late 1950s, the Vatican instructed hundreds of nuns to submit their urine to a reproductive corporation.
It is far more extraordinary and intriguing than I ever imagined.
Using sculpture, music, video, print, and text, the show explores the strange history of reproductive medications.
She stated that her research findings made her feel less isolated during the IVF procedure, and she hopes that the exhibition will have the same effect on others undergoing treatment.
“While going through the fertility process, you feel pressure on yourself as an individual and on the woman’s body,” she explained.
“When I learned that people and animals were involved in fertility medications, I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, I’m not the only one doing this’.”
A successful IVF treatment might result in several embryos, and some individuals choose to freeze the additional embryos for future use.
“I have no idea how to interpret these frozen embryos. While I’ve never seen them, I pay for them “She continued.
“Thus, I desired a means to bring them to life, something that makes sense in relation to them and renders the intangible apparent.”
The free exhibition continues until March 12 at Manchester’s Castlefield Gallery.