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.
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