Assisted reproduction with "third-party" participation: surpassing the limits of kinship
Nancy Anne Konvalinka (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia)
Ana María Rivas (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
Body, Affects, Senses, Emotions
Aula 1
Tuesday 16 April, 16:30-18:15 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

ARTs with gamete donation and gestational surrogates defy the biogenetic conception of western kinship by using "third parties" to produce descendants. Acknowledging and assigning roles to these new figures is a challenge for all involved: receiving families, donors, surrogates, and descendants.

Long abstract:

Assisted Reproduction Techniques and Gestational Surrogacy open the way for the agreed-upon participation of third parties in family formation. This participation surpasses the traditionally-established limits of two parents (man and woman) in the conception of children, violating the principles of bilaterality and natural conception. The experience of these techniques becomes a process of shaping subjectivities that leads the people that use them -receiving families and donors/surrogates- to modify a biogenetic conception of kinship in the direction of an intentional conception: procreative will and childrearing are what construct kinship for some -the families- and de-construct it for others -donors and surrogates. Ethnographic research offers both cases in which the intentional parents avoid visibilizing third-party participation in the conception of their children and cases in which they imagine new roles for these people in their discourses on their family formation or even in their family life itself. In this panel, we will explore 1) the roles granted or not granted to these third parties -gamete donors and gestational surrogates- by parents and children in their families, 2) donors' and surrogates' representations of their relations of (dis)connectedness with the receiving families and the descendants conceived through their intervention, 3) the role of assisted reproduction centers, surrogacy companies or agencies, and legal frameworks have in contributing to this (dis)connection