Making matter matter: Meanings accorded to genetic material among Australian gay men
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As growing numbers of gay men enter into the reproductive realm, opportunities emerge for the rewriting or revision of kinship ties. Given the hegemonic status of genetic matter in the context of kinship, however, it is perhaps unsurprising that, amongst gay men, there are complex negotiations over how, and in what instances, genetic matter will be made to matter. This paper explores the question of genetic matter in the context of gay men's reproductive journeys by examining data from three studies: (i) an interview study with men who had donated sperm; (ii) an interview study with people who had entered into surrogacy arrangements; and (iii) a study of news media and blogs that document the experiences of people who have entered into surrogacy arrangements. Focusing solely on the gay men in these three studies, four thematic contexts were identified in which genetic matter was made salient with regard to kinship: (i) claiming kinship in the context of sperm donation; (ii) couples negotiating genetic matter in the context of surrogacy arrangements; (iii) minimizing the genetic contribution of women who act as egg donors; and (iv) controlling the flow of information about genetic matter to children. This paper concludes by suggesting the need for both the decentring of genetic matter in reproduction amongst gay men (e.g. exploring alternate routes to parenthood), and the recentring of genetic matter in instances where genetic relatedness is the basis of kinship (e.g. acknowledging the roles, needs and lifeworlds of all parties).
© 2018 The Author. Published by Elsevier Inc.This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.