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Looking Like a Family: Negotiating Bio-Genetic Continuity in British Lesbian Families Using Licensed Donor Insemination

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Document pages: 26 pages

Abstract: Under current legal regulations, when undertaking donor insemination at British clinics, women are able to ‘choose’ particular characteristics of donors. It is also permissible to reserve sperm from a particular donor for future use. These provisions have traditionally been associated with facilitating heterosexual couples to ‘pass’ as ‘the family’. In contrast, this article discusses the significance of these practices for some lesbian couples. I explore the construction of implied (racial) bio-genetic links between donor-conceived children and co-mothers, and to co-mothers’ extended families. I also examine the use of the same donor for ‘full’ siblings. In conclusion I discuss some of the implications for our understanding of lesbian family construction.

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