Genetic connection and relationships in narratives of donor-assisted conception

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Donor-assisted conception diverts genetic connection from parent and child to donor and offspring. This article examines ways in which the contributions of genes and relationships to the meaning of family are explained in the narratives of donors, recipients, and offspring of donated gametes and embryos. More than 80 people were interviewed and subsequently consulted about their narrative accounts, which reflect the canonical narrative of families based on genetic connection. Some parents concur with this narrative and struggle to accommodate the lack of genetic connection within their understanding of the family. Others emphasise relationships while simultaneously affirming the significance of genes by ensuring the same donor for each child. Simple categorisation is impossible. As donors, parents, and offspring construct narrative interpretations of donor-assisted conception, they reveal the complex interaction in the meaning of genes and relationships, and of negotiations between those whose lives include donor-assisted conception and their social context.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralian Journal for Emerging Technologies and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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