Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/67099
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Type: Journal article
Title: The value and meaning attached to genetic relatedness among Australian sperm donors
Author: Riggs, D.
Scholz, B.
Citation: New Genetics and Society, 2011; 30(1):41-58
Publisher: Carfax Publishing
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 1463-6778
1469-9915
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Damien W. Riggs and Brett Scholz
Abstract: While in the context of western societies sperm is attributed with a wide range of meanings, in the context of assisted reproduction it has increasingly been treated as an alienable commodity. Yet despite attempts by medical professionals to encourage a disconnect between donors and their sperm, the latter continues in many instances to operate as a synecdoche for the former. This can be seen, for example, both in donor-conceived children's desire to know their donor and in donors' investments in the use of their sperm. This paper explores the latter example by providing a discourse analysis of the narratives of 30 Australian sperm donors, with a focus on how they accounted for the value and meaning of their sperm. Three broad themes are discussed: sperm as a marker of genetic legacy, responsibility for sperm as genetic material, and sperm as a "gift" to others. The implications of these understandings of sperm among donors are discussed in relation to outcomes for all parties involved in donor conception, and suggestions are made for recognizing the investments that donors may have in their sperm.
Keywords: sperm donation; identity; responsibility; altruism; genetic relatedness
Rights: © 2011 Taylor & Francis
RMID: 0020110983
DOI: 10.1080/14636778.2011.552299
Appears in Collections:Psychiatry publications

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