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Quiroga, Seline. “Blood Is Thicker than Water: Policing Donor Insemination and the Reproduction of Whiteness.” Hypatia 22, no. 2 (April 2007): 143–61.


In this article, Szkupinski Quiroga argues that assisted reproductive technology (ART), because of its growing emphasis on genetics , is increasingly medicalized, and serves to promote and idealize whiteness as a trait that is both inheritable and worthy of protection. She explores both the historical roots of this trend in the “American kinship system,” as well as the practical consequences of it on women of color experiencing infertility. Drawing on sociological scholarship of kinship, the author explores the idea that “blood is thicker than water;” that is, that “regardless of class or racial background, kinship is rooted in biology via blood and genetics.” She argues that race is a social construction based on physical characteristics and is defined by its contrast to whiteness, and therefore that the emphasis placed on genetic relatedness/kinship through ART is a reification of whiteness, and a perpetuation of racial hierarchy. The author goes on to posit that cultural beliefs about racial purity that shape the “white heteropatriarchal kinship model” are what make ARTs so popular, and also what makes them largely unavailable to women of color. At the same time, she argues that donor insemination, unlike other forms of ART, can be a subversive act by only allowing for the genetic material of one parent to be passed on. The author provides narratives from several interviews with women of color seeking insemination from a sperm bank and the difficulties they have faced in dealing with the medical community. The author concludes by suggesting that women of color find ways to resist the dominant white kinship model, namely through emphasizing the social aspects of parenting and kinship.


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Assisted reproductive technology   Intersectionality   Pregnancy   History