Fear, fascination and the sperm donor as 'abjection' in interviews with heterosexual recipients of donor insemination

  • Burr J
  • 24

    Readers

    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 29

    Citations

    Citations of this article.

Abstract

The background to this article is the medical regulation of sperm donation in the UK and the recent policy change so that children born from sperm, eggs or embryos donated after April 2005 have the right to know their donor's identity. I draw upon data from interviews with ten women and seven joint interviews with couples who received donor insemination from an anonymous sperm donor and were the parents of donor insemination children. I explore the symbolic presence of the donor and his potential to disrupt social and physical boundaries using the theoretical conceptions of boundaries and pollution as articulated by Mary Douglas and Julia Kristeva. I present data to argue that the anonymous donor manifests in various figures; the shadowy and ambiguous figure of 'another man'; the intelligent medical student; the donor as a family man, with children of his own who wants to help infertile men father children. In addition participants perceive the donor's physical characteristics, but also see their husband's physical characteristics, in their children. In conclusion I argue that anonymisation preserves features of conventional family life, maintains the idea of exclusivity within the heterosexual relationship and affirms the legal father's insecurity about his infertility.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Anonymity
  • Boundaries
  • Donor insemination
  • Male infertility
  • Qualitative research

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Authors

  • Jennifer Burr

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free