University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Centre for Family Research Seminar Series > Embodied motherhood/genetic fatherhood: British South Asian women's perceptions of using donated gametes in assisted conception

Embodied motherhood/genetic fatherhood: British South Asian women's perceptions of using donated gametes in assisted conception

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This paper explores how conceptual frameworks around new reproductive technologies may be influenced by religious and cultural contexts. Using data derived from an Economic and Social research Council (ESRC) funded project on the public perceptions of gamete donation in British South Asian communities, the article discusses women’s narratives of third party assisted conception in infertility treatment, as constructed in focus group discussions. The analysis suggests a strong contrast in perceptions of egg donation and sperm donation. Embodied motherhood had the effect of naturalising the use of donated eggs for women. Fatherhood, however, was seen as constituted by genetic relatedness in a patrilineal cultural context. Using donated eggs, then, was considered less problematic than using donated sperm. However, the embodiment of motherhood, the attachment of women to their biological material and the emotional ties of even ‘detached’ reproduction, meant that women simultaneously had difficulty in imagining themselves becoming egg donors.

This talk is part of the Centre for Family Research Seminar Series series.

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