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The Racial Matching of Gamete Donors in UK Fertility Clinics

Starza-Allen, Antony (2021) The Racial Matching of Gamete Donors in UK Fertility Clinics. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.88041) (KAR id:88041)

Language: English

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Race is a deeply contested concept; however, race and related characteristics, including ethnicity and skin tone, are frequently provided with gamete donor information, implicating race in donor selection at UK fertility clinics. While existing literature shows that fertility professionals might sometimes seek a racial match between the donor and the patient(s), the role that race plays, if any, in donor selection has been relatively underexplored. By adopting a constructivist model of race and applying empirical evidence gathered through a series of in-depth semi-structured interviews with clinicians, counsellors and nurses, this thesis identifies if and how race plays a role in donor selection and whether patients and gamete donors are racially matched. It examines the nature and degree of involvement of fertility professionals in this matter and evaluates if a concern for race may be operationalised in 'routine' clinical practice or 'problem' cases where patients raise a query or challenge norms. The findings demonstrate how race operates as a social construction where biological or essentialist notions of race are reproduced through racial matching and assumptions within the donor selection process. However, the construction of race is also observed to be linked to themes of privacy, identity and autonomy, presenting a complex and nuanced picture overall. Fertility professionals are seen to play an integral role in how race is deployed in donor selection. While assumptions around race-kinship congruity result from the problematising of racial mismatching, the findings also describe sensitive and meaningful interaction with patients' understandings of kinship and the construction of relatedness. These findings raise important normative considerations for fertility practice and policy in this unique sphere of interaction between patient, donor and clinic.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Sheldon, Sally
Thesis advisor: Horsey, Kirsty
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.88041
Uncontrolled keywords: Law Race Fertility clinics Gamete donors Racial matching Kinship
Subjects: K Law
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 11 May 2021 11:10 UTC
Last Modified: 20 May 2021 07:14 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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