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Random FamiliesGenetic Strangers, Sperm Donor Siblings, and the Creation of New Kin$
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Rosanna Hertz and Margaret K. Nelson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190888275

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190888275.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 October 2021

Inventing the Donor / Inventing the Self

Inventing the Donor / Inventing the Self

(p.33) 2 Inventing the Donor / Inventing the Self
Random Families

Rosanna Hertz

Margaret K. Nelson

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes how children begin to understand the meaning of donor conception to make sense of the hollow concept of a donor. It explores how children of different ages imagine the sperm donor. Sex education in schools and conversations with other children become factors in their understanding. As children invent the donor from the bits and pieces of information available, they also try to figure out which parts of themselves came from the donor; they thus invent the self. Siblings who live in the same home can help children figure out who the donor is and what he has contributed. During adolescence children use the donor to help in the processes of separation and self-assessment. The chapter considers the following questions: How do children go beyond a birth narrative to understand themselves? How do their parents help them understand that some aspects of the self might come from a stranger?

Keywords:   sperm donor, donor conception, adolescence, children, separation from parent, self-assessment, identity, birth story, school friend, reproduction

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