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Random Families – Genetic Strangers, Sperm Donor Siblings, and the Creation of New Kin - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Random Families: Genetic Strangers, Sperm Donor Siblings, and the Creation of New Kin

Rosanna Hertz and Margaret K. Nelson


This is a book about unprecedented families—networks of strangers linked by genes, medical technology, and the human desire for affinity and identity. It chronicles the chain of choices that couples and single mothers make—how to conceive, how to place sperm donors in their family tree, and what to do when it suddenly becomes clear that there are children out there that share half their child’s DNA. Do shared genes make you family? Do children find anything in common? What becomes of the random networks that arise once the members of the families of donor siblings find one another? Based on ov ... More

Keywords: donor sibling, random families, genetic stranger, sperm donor, DNA, lesbian couple, single mother, heterosexual family, Facebook, children

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780190888275
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190888275.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Rosanna Hertz, author
Classes of 1919-1950 Reunion Professor of Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies, Wellesley College

Margaret K. Nelson, author
A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Sociology Emerita, Middlebury College