Advocacy for unborn sperm donor-conceived children and family policy

Ya'Arit Bokek-Cohen, Limor Dina Gonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The extant family policy in the United States relates to children who are already born. We propose that this policy should be extended in order to enhance the psychological welfare of children prior to their conception. We use the sperm banking industry as a case study, and theorize extended donor profiles as constituting socializing text for the donor offspring. Building on the identity process theory and the concept of genealogical bewilderment, we assume that many sperm recipients, especially single mothers and lesbian couples, may want to show their future children the profile of their father. Informed by Connell's Hegemonic Masculinity theory, we content analyzed 180 extended sperm donor profiles from six American sperm banks and found that traditional masculinity prevails. Hence, we contend that there is a discrepancy between the monolithic, traditional way masculinity is performed through the text and the diverse masculinities, gender roles and family types of the donor offspring's reality; experiencing such discrepancies may cause some stress in offspring. We propose that family policy should be expanded and elaborated to regulate the contents of extended profiles, in order to ensure a repertoire of a greater diversity of family structures as well as a variety of masculinities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-223
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Theory and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 May 2016


  • gender roles
  • hegemonic masculinity
  • identity
  • socializing text
  • sperm donation


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