A sense of connectedness in reproductive donation: Contrasting policy with donor and donor kin lived experience’

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Abstract

This article asks how well new developments in family life are reflected in law and policy, with a particular focus on donor conception. There has been an unprecedented ‘opening up’ of family life in recent decades; this increased diversity is, at least in part, linked to developments in reproductive technologies, including gamete donation. In family lives touched by donation, genetic relations with ‘donor connections’ take genetic connectedness beyond traditional notions of kinship. There is not yet an established social script for how to understand what constitutes meaningful connectedness in reproductive donation. Focussing on the UK context specifically, where assisted conception is highly regulated, this article examines on the one hand, how UK law and policy portray meaningful connectedness in the context of donation, and, on the other hand, how well this fits with connectedness as experienced within egg and sperm donor communities. Drawing on original data from UK law and policy analysis, and empirical interview data with egg and sperm donors and their kin, our analysis shows important disparities between law and policy, and the empirical evidence, suggesting a need for an overhaul of UK donor conception law and policy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Early online date24 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Aug 2023

Keywords

  • UK regulation
  • agency
  • connectedness
  • donor kin
  • egg and sperm donation
  • everyday life experiences
  • law and policy
  • origins

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