Thursday seminar: The Gamete Donor Register as Kinship Device and Technology of Belonging

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Zoom
  • Lecturer: Riikka Homanen, Academy Research Fellow in Gender Studies, Sociology & STS, Tampere University and University of Helsinki
  • Organiser: Centre for Gender Research
  • Contact person: Nicole Ovesen
  • Seminarium

On the creation of familial, national and racial belonging in assisted reproduction.

About the seminar: Donor conception is an area where increased emphasis on “openness” has resulted in major changes to legal, medical, and kinship practices. Anonymous gamete donations are becoming prohibited, and donor registers with identity-release systems are becoming common. These reforms assume that it is in the child’s best interest to know the “truth” about their genetic origin, and that this overrides intended parents’ right to privacy.

Drawing on ethnographic material from commercial fertility clinics in Finland, my talk discusses how the identity-release register as a governmental socio-technical device of assisted reproduction acts as an instrument of relatedness in treatment practices at the level of both individuals and nations. The register intervenes in these practices in such a way that the principle of openness as the child’s best interest is maintained but somewhat transformed from site to site. The register is devised to support parenthood based on intent, with no perceived threat to child welfare or family privacy. In the context of the transnational egg donation market, the register works as a guarantee of the white Nordic kin-ness of Finnish donors. Consequently, the register has become a technology that assists strategic familial, national, and racial belonging.

Register in advance in order to access the Zoom-link.

This seminar is held in English. 

The Centre for Gender Research's Thursday seminars reflect the breath of gender research and touch upon many different research areas. 


Last modified: 2021-07-05