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

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alison WheatleyORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


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 whilst at the same time placing genetic relationships firmly at the centre of them.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wheatley A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Families, Relationships and Societies

Year: 2019

Volume: 8

Issue: 1

Pages: 137-152

Print publication date: 01/03/2019

Online publication date: 20/03/2017

Acceptance date: 04/03/2017

Date deposited: 04/03/2017

ISSN (print): 2046-7435

ISSN (electronic): 2046-7443

Publisher: Policy Press


DOI: 10.1332/204674317X14896713788707


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