Parents in law: subjective impacts and status implications around the use of licensed donor insemination

Jones, Caroline (2006) Parents in law: subjective impacts and status implications around the use of licensed donor insemination. In, Diduck, Alison and O'Donovan, Katherine (eds.) Feminist Perspectives on Family Law. Oxford, GB, Routledge-Cavendish, 75-99. (Feminist Perspectives).


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The focus of this chapter is the significance of the legal ascription of parenthood, in the context of donor insemination, as a mechanism of the social management of family formation. Identifying a particular person as a legal parent, or excluding another from parental status, can clearly both affect and reflect societal attitudes to parenting and transgressive familial forms. At the outset I consider the authority of legal discourse to confer legal parenthood, and through the analysis of interview accounts of lesbian couples and heterosexual couples, go on to examine the kinship terminology used in both heterosexual and lesbian families with children conceived by donation. This analysis facilitates an understanding of the subjective impact of the legal ascription of parenthood, or lack thereof, for some people using donor insemination to create their families. I conclude by addressing three interrelated questions: whether Anglo-Welsh family law has the necessary mechanisms for recognising the parnetal role of co-mothers; whether 'parenthood' is an appropriate status to reflect the role of co-mothers; and the ways in which lesbian co-motherhood might be accommodated under the current law relating to parenthood.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: "This books is very readable and thorougly engaging, covering a range of the issues one would expect in a collection of this sort. It is an invaluable resource for students and researchers alike and a timely and welcome addition to family law scholarship." - Julie Wallbank, Feminist Legal Studies, Vol 16 No.2, (2008)
ISBNs: 9780415420365 (paperback)
9781904385424 (hardback)
Related URLs:
Keywords: donor insemination, parent, legal parenthood, co-mother, status
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA1001 Forensic Medicine. Medical jurisprudence. Legal medicine
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Law
ePrint ID: 73626
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
30 November 2006Published
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2010
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:06

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