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137 Families, Relationships and Societies • vol 8 • no 1 • 137–52 • © Policy Press 2019 Print ISSN 2046 7435 • Online ISSN 2046 7443 • https://doi.org/10.1332/204674317X14896713788707 Accepted for publication 07 March 2017 • First published online 20 March 2017 article ‘We’re not related in any way, only by blood’: Danish sperm donors and (imagined) relationships Alison Wheatley, alison.wheatley@newcastle.ac.uk Newcastle University, UK New reproductive technologies have allowed for a disruption of traditional kinship networks through the broadening of who is

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able to remain anonymous. Studies with both egg and sperm donors find that they tend to de-emphasise the significance of their genetic connection to donor offspring, highlighting the importance of intention, gestation and caring practices in defining socially meaningful parenthood ( Kirkman, 2004 , 2008 ; Konrad, 2005 ; Orobitg and Salazar, 2005 ; Almeling, 2011 ; Wheatley, 2017 ). However, many studies have also found that anonymous donors are unable or unwilling to entirely screen out the significance of their connection to donor offspring. Sperm donors have

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– 6 Burr , J , 2009 , Fear, fascination and the sperm donor as ‘abjection’ in interviews with heterosexual recipients of donor insemination , Sociology of Health and Illness , 31 , 705 – 18 Crawshaw , M , 1995 , Offering woman-centred counselling in reproductive medicine , in SE Jennings , ed, Infertility counselling , Oxford : Blackwell Science , 38 – 65 Crawshaw , M , 2008 , Prospective parents’ intentions regarding disclosure following the removal of donor anonymity , Human Fertility , 1 – 6 , doi: 10.1080/14647270701694282 Crawshaw

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relationships as ‘singles’, that people might like to seek the company of a community of singles regardless of whether they might also have a partner, and in the case of not having a partner, that they might want to be part of such a community of singles but not necessarily with the goal of finding a partner. As Wheatley (2019) notes in her piece on sperm donors, new reproductive technologies are disrupting conceptualisations of who is considered related, challenging the social and biological aspects of relationships. Forsberg and Autonen-Vaaraniemi (2019) focus on what

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prevent many men from becoming unofficial sperm donors. Thus medical involvement may become the only way of acquiring sperm since it confers respectability and relieves the potential donor of any parental duties - if the doctor is prepared to do it. If a woman does find a donor and performs the insemination herself then he may be able to obtain rights over the child, whatever his relation- ship with the mother. In the UK such a donor could apply under Sec- tion 4 of the Children Act 1989 for a court order giving him parental responsibility for the child. While this

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donate to how many families according to clinical guidelines (in SE)/ the law (in BE). c [BE:6; SE:6–10] 16 (14.4) 14 (28.6) How much do you think donors are reimbursed? (Euro/SEK) c , d Euro SEK •Sperm donors [BE:50–100; SE:400–600] 83 (74.8) 12 (24.5) •Egg donors [BE:500–2,000; SE:4,000–11,000] 20 (18) 5 (10.2) Which characteristics of the donor are intending parents allowed to choose? c •Various [BE:no; SE:no] 93 (83.8) 3 (6.1) •Limited [BE:no; SE:no] 58 (52.3) 21 (42.9) •None [BE:yes; SE

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Massachusetts Press, pp 3–14. Scheib, J.E., Riordan, M. and Rubin, S. (2003) ‘Choosing identity- release sperm donors: the parents’ perspective 13–18 years later’, Human Reproduction, vol 18, no 5, pp 1115–27. Scheib, J.E., Riordan, M. and Rubin, S. (2005) ‘Adolescents with open-identity sperm donors: reports from 12–17 year olds’, Human Reproduction, vol 20, no 1, pp 239–52. Scherrer, K. (2008) ‘Coming to an asexual identity: negotiating identity, negotiating desire’, Sexualities, vol 11, no 5, pp 621–41. Sell, R.L. (1996) ‘The sell assessment of sexual orientation

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considering the good of the future child at all, but to some other end. Choosing a deaf child People who are deaf often share a friendly and supportive community life, hence some deaf people would prefer to have children who are also deaf and so will be able to become members of their own community. In a much-discussed case in the US, this wish led to a deaf woman successfully seeking a deaf sperm donor in the hope of having a child who would also be deaf. (In this case, a sperm donor was sought because the would-be mother was a lesbian with a female partner.) The ethical

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rights to same-sex couples and single adults. Many families include adopted children, although numbers of adoptions in England and Wales fell from 21,000 in 1975 to 4,637 in 2007 (www.baaf.co.uk, accessed 4 January 2010). Additionally, the growth and use of fertility treatments has increased. According to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), an estimated 14,057 women received fertility treatments in 1992, but in 20072 this rose to 36,648 receiving treatments. The use of egg and sperm donors, and artificial insemination techniques, enables

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/they want to become parents and, in accordance with the legislation protecting the ‘welfare of the child’ and the child’s ‘need for a father’, they must articulate how they will ensure the child will have appropriate male role models. The 1990 Act also maintained the anonymity of sperm donors. Anonymity of donors was removed in the subsequent regulations in April 2005 and now children born via donor insemination will have access to identifying information upon their 18th birthday. This move affected lesbian mothers using donor insemination in three important ways

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