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Bodily Interventions and Intimate LabourUnderstanding Bioprecarity$
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Gabriele Griffin and Doris Leibetseder

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526138569

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526138576

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‘It’s Just Sperm. That’s all you’re Giving’

‘It’s Just Sperm. That’s all you’re Giving’

Men’s views of sperm donation

(p.131) 7 ‘It’s Just Sperm. That’s all you’re Giving’
Bodily Interventions and Intimate Labour

Gabriele Griffin

Manchester University Press

Much research on IVF, assisted reproduction and gamete donation has centred on their medical, legal and socio-cultural processes and meanings. Here, quite frequently, little attention is paid to the donors themselves other than in the context of their selection. However, donation is a corporeal process in which body parts are produced and given or sold. This chapter analyses the bioprecarities that derive from the process of sperm donation. It draws on empirical online and social media materials, as well as other texts, in which men who donate sperm for the purposes of assisted reproduction articulate their sense of the meaning of this process, and further, considers responses to the revelation of sperm donation from people both known and unknown to the donor. These responses show how sperm donation as a form of intimate labour in which a man also parts with somatic material produced by his body, and involving negotiated journeys, is managed and talked about. In the chapter I argue that responses to sperm donation indicate deeply gendered views of reproductive intimate labour in which a sense of bioprecarity masks strongly gendered views of sexuality, intimacy, and reproduction.

Keywords:   sperm donation, sperm donor, fathering, donor anonymity, intimate labour, male fertility, jokes

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