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Conceiving together : lesbian couples pursuit of donor conception

Nordqvist, Petra (2009) Conceiving together : lesbian couples pursuit of donor conception. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Donor conception has an established place in lesbian reproduction, and one that diverges from cultural understandings of conception, parenthood and family. However, to date, there is no major UK study into lesbian couples' experiences of pursuing donor conception. Exploring these experiences, the thesis first investigates, in a review and critique of the literature, existing research into lesbian conception. Noting the few studies into lesbian reproduction, it discusses how it figures in related areas of research: feminist studies of reproductive technologies; kinship and assisted conception; changing patterns of intimate and family life; and politics of gay and lesbian normalisation. Second, it investigates lesbian couples' clinical and self-arranged donor conception practices in an empirical study based on interviews with 25 couples in England and Wales, a study which the literature review suggests is the largest in the UK, to date. What emerges from couples' accounts is an irresolvable tension between being in receipt of donor sperm and a romantic desire to become a biogenetic nuclear family. The interviews are thematically analysed to explore the nature of this conflict. The thesis demonstrates that couples seek to negotiate donor conception through disassembling its material, practical and conceptual elements and reassembling these components in coordinated ways. In addition, couples undertake a repertoire of practices that signal togetherness, with the aim of constructing a bounded 'nuclear' family. Through these practices, lesbian couples seek to contain the potentially destabilising impact of the donor on their desired way of becoming and being a family. This takes place in a social context which challenges their claims to parenthood, and the constant possibility that their conception processes, and the meanings they give them, will be undermined. The findings underline the centrality of connectedness in contemporary personal life and the unremitting hegemonic power ofthe nuclear family model.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Centre for Women's Studies (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.507467
Depositing User: EThOS Import (York)
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2016 17:36
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2016 17:36
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14124

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