Encyclopedia of Reproductive Technologies

By Annette Burfoot | Go to book overview

twenty-nine
Psychosocial
Implications of
Donor Insemination

RONA ACHILLES AND KEN DANIELS


General Psychosocial Implications

Similar to other reproductive technologies that separate sexual intercourse from reproduction, donor insemination (DI) can alter the usual parameters of time and space in reproductive behavior. Reproductive partners need no longer be in the same location at the same time. Indeed, they no longer need to meet or know each other in any way. Freezing of sperm allows for different time frames including the possibility that a man's sperm may be used to conceive a child after his death. In addition, sperm may be manipulated before insemination, as it is in sex predetermination techniques. As well, the medicalization of conception that occurs with DI moves conception from the private to the public realm and grants the medical profession control over who becomes a parent. This process also has eugenic consequences in the screening of both donors and recipients.

With artificial insemination by husband (AIH), the psychosocial implications are minimal, since aside from the stress associated with all infertility treatments, the practice of AIH replicates reproduction by two partners through sexual intercourse. In DI, the traditional interpersonal dynamics of reproduction are substantially altered. DI mothers conceive

-160-

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