Race matching, race queering? Understanding race in donor conception among queer parents

When:13 Mar 2019, 3pm - 4pm
Venue:Room 221/223, Level 2, John Goodsell Building, UNSW Kensington Campus
Who:Jaya Keaney, Gender and Cultural Studies, the University of Sydney
Jaya Keaney

In critical literature and clinical practice around donor assisted conception, race is understood through a concept of ‘race matching’, or the idea that intending parents select donors who racially resemble them in an effort to create family resemblance and the ability to pass as if conceived without assistance. In this paper, I explore the concept of ‘race matching’ from the perspective of queer Australian parents who used donors to conceive. Whilst race matching is considered the norm in donor conception, many of my participants deviated from this practice by actively choosing donors of a different race. Their narratives contest dominant discourses of the function of race in donor-conception and instead highlight the diverse meanings of race in the family when detached from assumptions of biological relatedness. Together, these contestations voice forms of queer reproductive ethics that attempt to assemble race differently, outside prescriptive matching norms.

Jaya Keaney submitted her PhD in 2019 at the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. Her PhD explores ontologies of race in the narratives of queer Australian parents who conceived using reproductive technologies. The project employs ethnographic methods and draws together conceptual approaches from feminist science studies, critical race theory and queer kinship. Jaya was recently a visiting scholar with the Reproductive Sociology Research Group (ReproSoc) in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge, UK (Easter term, 2018). Her broader research interests include race in biotechnologies, affect theory and queer of colour critique.

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