Interpreting Fatherhood After Donation: Social Representations and Identity Resonances Among Men Having Assisted a Lesbian Couple in Becoming Parents

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This article documents the social representations of the paternity of men involved in the parental project of lesbian couples as known sperm donors, that is, as part of an agreement established outside the medically assisted reproduction system. Eleven Quebec donors were interviewed to gather their views on their role with children conceived as a result of their donation. The results show that their representations are structured around a presence/absence dualism that reflects their experiences with their own fathers, while also following the agreement initially established with the mothers. Child care and daily presence are more associated with a paternal identity, whereas the donor or genitor identity refers to the genetic contribution transmitted through the donation. Between these two poles, some men must contend with significant ambiguity, given not only the absence of reference points or models but also the relational aspect of this practice of donor-assisted reproduction.

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