The New Kinship: Reconstructing Donor-Conceived Families

Overview


No federal law in the United States requires that egg or sperm donors or recipients exchange any information with the offspring that result from the donation. Donors typically enter into contracts with fertility clinics or sperm banks which promise them anonymity. The parents may know the donor’s hair color, height, IQ, college, and profession; they may even have heard the donor’s voice. But they don’t know the donor’s name, medical history, or other information that might play a key role in a child’s ...
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The New Kinship: Constructing Donor-Conceived Families

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Overview


No federal law in the United States requires that egg or sperm donors or recipients exchange any information with the offspring that result from the donation. Donors typically enter into contracts with fertility clinics or sperm banks which promise them anonymity. The parents may know the donor’s hair color, height, IQ, college, and profession; they may even have heard the donor’s voice. But they don’t know the donor’s name, medical history, or other information that might play a key role in a child’s development. And, until recently, donor-conceived offspring typically didn’t know that one of their biological parents was a donor. But the secrecy surrounding the use of donor eggs and sperm is changing. And as it does, increasing numbers of parents and donorconceived offspring are searching for others who share the same biological heritage. When donors, recipients, and “donor kids” find each other, they create new forms of families that exist outside of the law. The New Kinship details how families are made and how bonds are created between families in the brave new world of reproductive technology. Naomi Cahn, a nationally-recognized expert on reproductive technology and the law, shows how these new kinship bonds dramatically exemplify the ongoing cultural change in how we think about family. The issues Cahn explores in this book will resonate with anyone— and everyone—who has struggled with questions of how to define themselves in connection with their own biological, legal, or social families.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The New Kinship turns the traditional notion of 'family' on its head. Naomi Cahn reinforces the importance of family while challenging a normatively entrenched, but inaccurate account of what makes up the modern family. As she wisely puts forth, families are more than biological connections. Rather, the heterosexual, two-parent model no longer accurately captures or defines parentage. Equally, kinship is far more complex than blood relationships; donor-conceived family communities remind us how much the law is far behind in providing an accurate linguistic, theoretical, and doctrinal account of new kinship models. Cahn brilliantly begins to fill this gap. The New Kinship: Donor Conceived Family Communities is a timely tour de force about the 'donor world' and the people who inhabit it."-Michele Bratcher Goodwin,Everett Fraser Professor of Law & Professor of Medicine and Public Health, University of Minnesota

"The New Kinship makes a major contribution to the literature of reproductive technologies by telling stories from the kids’ perspectives to argue for changes in legal regulation. It offers us new language to describe these new family relationships, and provocatively calls call for increased state regulation of the donor world. Both radical and traditional, Cahn’s book is a rich mix of scholarly research and real life stories of donor-conceived parents, kids, and half-siblings. A comprehensive and empathetic view of too-often overlooked donor-conceived families. At once accessible and scholarly, it makes a clear call for increased federal regulation of donor-conceived families."-Martha Ertman,Carole & Hanan Sibel Research Professor of Law, University of Maryland

The New Kinship is fascinating, provocative, insightful, and important. I should add that I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.”-Adam Pertman,Executive Director of the Donaldson Adoption Institute and author of Adoption Nation

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814772034
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 1/7/2013
  • Pages: 250
  • Sales rank: 1,352,318
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Naomi Cahn is the John Theodore Fey Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School. Her previous books include Red Families v. Blue Families, Test Tube Families (NYU Press 2009), Families By Law: An Adoption Reader (NYU Press 2004), and Confinements: Fertility and Infertility in Contemporary Culture.


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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

Part I Explorations: The Meaning of Family and the Terrain of the Donor World 11

1 Peopling the Donor World 13

2 The Meaning of Family in a Changing World 31

Part II Creating Donor-Conceived Families and Communities 47

3 Creating Families 49

4 Creating Communities across Families 61

Part III The Law and Donor Families 89

5 The Laws of the Donor World: Parents and Children 91

6 Law, Adoption, and Family Secrets: Disclosure and Incest 107

Part IV To Regulate or Not? 123

7 Reasons to Regulate 125

8 Regulating for Connection 137

9 Regulating for Health and Safety: Setting Limits in the Gamete World 151

10 Why Not to Regulate 163

Conclusion: Challenging and Creating Kinship 181

Notes 185

Index 231

About the Author 242

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