‘We’re not related in any way, only by blood’: Danish sperm donors and (imagined) relationships

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Alison Wheatley Newcastle University, UK

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New reproductive technologies have allowed for a disruption of traditional kinship networks through the broadening of who is considered related. In this article, I explore Danish sperm donors’ accounts of relatedness and how they situate themselves within the networks that are formed — or have the potential to be formed — through donor insemination. This includes the ways in which they imagine their (potential) offspring and the recipients of their sperm, as well as negotiations with their romantic partners and other family members. The donors drew on narratives of ‘the knock on the door’ and pop-cultural representations of (donor) fatherhood to understand their position and to frame relationships in particular ways. Donors regularly decoupled the social and the biological in their accounts while at the same time placing genetic relationships firmly at the centre of them.

Alison Wheatley Newcastle University, UK

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Families, Relationships and Societies
An international journal of research and debate