In his 1966 conference performed in the Salpêtrière hospital, Jacques Lacan evokes the meaning of « the demand » with reference to the medical position, and then highlights the rift between demand and desire. He says: « As soon as we make that remark [on the rift] it appears that it is not necessary to be a psychoanalyst, or even a doctor, to know that when anyone, our best friend, whether male or female, asks us for something it is not at all the same and sometimes even diametrically opposed to what he desires  ».
This rift, according to Lacan, sheds light on the medical profession. It has also clearly appeared during the broadcasting of a tv programme on the topic of oocytes cryopreservation. This practice, widely used, often occurs at a time where fertility issues arise. Regularly-cited reasons being the absence of a partner, age, priority given to one’s career, etc. One of the women interviewed in this show, a very career-committed singer, disclosed her repulsion to the idea of being with a child: « No! A runny nose, diapers», a repulsive and repugnant « object ». However, she decides to engage in this procedure. The medical profession accedes to her request and ensures the future possibility of being a mother. Nevertheless, it may be appropriate to ask what is this decision about and what does it hide.
The previously mentioned quote of Lacan about the possibility of a diametrically opposed position between demand and desire raises the question of relationship, or of interplay, between the unconscious and the satisfaction of the demand. Once this demand is fulfilled, a closure takes place at the level of demand-desire. It transforms this possible future into an almost eternal one, into an allegedly « time for understanding » that is endless and that provides a safe place for the being from the effects of the negativity that himself has introduced: «disappearance, decay, ageing, death, eclipse  ». Would it be appropriate to speak about an anonymous desire?
To come back to the question of time, Jacques-Alain Miller adds: « if the unconscious has no knowledge of time, the libido has. And everybody knows that libido has knowledge of time, it is to say there is a temporality of Eros, at the level of love, of desire, of jouissance  ». Thus, the erotic of time appears clearly.
In the above-mentioned case, we see there is indeed a decided demand but can we state there is a decided desire for a child, even if deferred? This movement towards the future, perhaps asymptotic, implies a spatialization of time that highlights the distinction between the net biological aspect of maternity and the subject of the unconscious with the temporality of its Eros. It looks like this aspect of reproduction has become a consumer product, an effect of the capitalist system. However, it must be emphasized that this type of procedure can undoubtedly be of help when a genuine desire for a child is met with difficulties regarding conception due to physiological reasons or to the speaking being’s subjectivity in situation of single-parenthood or same-sex couple.
This gap between demand and desire also highlights the difference between reproduction and procreation. Each of these terms is correlative to a different dimension: one to biology, the other to creation. During a session of psychoanalysis, a subject tells that he has finally found a compatible partner and that the couple has already started to plan its future and its parenthood. The subject mentions some differences between the two partners concerning precisely temporality. Before going further in the relatioship, the man wants to gain more experience in the relationship in order to strengthen their bond and the harmony between them. Alas, the lockdown has been an obstacle to it. In spite of this, and given factors such as career, age and fertility, they find necessary, especially his partner does, to plan the number of children and the timing of their arrival into the world. Thus, after undertaking fertility tests, the questions they ask themselves are the following: Would it be better to freeze oocytes or embryos? Their line of thinking, especially for the man, is to anticipate all possible future « dissonances » by taking preventive measures through a detailed planning at all levels, including at the medical level. It is a sort of eu-reproduction about which Lacan says: « the eu highlighted by me in the passage above [« eugenics, euthanasia, and all sorts of diverse eufarces» – note from the translator] (…) would finally put us in the apathy of the universal Good. They would supplement the absence of relationship that I said to be forever impossible, (…)  ».
This universal Good not only erases the fact that the speaking subject has a body and not that he is it but it also negates the temporality or the a-temporality of the unconscious, the contingency and the written knowledge in the body, according to J.-A. Miller’s expression, through the elaboration of a geometry of motion that embodies a linear time, a scientific time that belongs entirely to the conscious system .
Traduction : Cedric Grolleau
Relecture : Tracy Hoijer-Favre
Photography: ©Dominique Sonnet – https://www.dominiquesonnet.be/
 Lacan J., « La place de la psychanalyse dans la médecine. Conférence et débat du Collège de Médecine à La Salpetrière », Cahiers du Collège de Médecine, 1966, p.761-774.
 Miller J.-A., « Introduction à l’érotique du temps », La Cause freudienne, n°56, mars 2004, p. 69. See English version in « Introduction to the Erotics of Time », Lacanian Ink 24/25, Spring 2005, pp. 8-43, translated by Barbara P. Fulks.
 Ibid., p. 71.
 Cf. Freud S., « The Unconscious », General Psychological Theory- Paper on Metapsychology (1915), in Miller J.-A., « Introduction à l’érotique du temps », op. cit., p. 71.