Sperm donor livelihood: masculinity, sexuality, and relatedness in times of biosociality
In times of reproductive biomedicine, questions of gender, sexuality, and relatedness are reformulated by the performative effects which the use of reproductive technologies has for contemporary sociality. While sperm donors are certainly a group of a few selected men even on a global scale, their experiences with living with these effects as part of their daily life are nevertheless exemplary since sperm donors are men who live the ordinariness of reproductive biomedicine. Their lives capture how what Paul Rabinow termed biosociality becomes a mundane part of everyday life. Based on ethnographic fieldwork at Danish sperm banks and interviews with Danish sperm donors, this talk will consider sperm donors’ experiences in order to gain an understanding for how biosociality plays out in men’s gendered, sexualed, and relational lives, arguing that sperm donors are biosocial subjects whose gendered, sexualed, and relational constitution is profoundly intertwined with the socio-cultural and political dimensions of contemporary reproductive biomedicine.
Sebastian Mohr is Assistant Professor of Educational Sociology at Aarhus University. As an ethnographer he explores the intersections of gender, sexuality, and technology in a number of contexts: reproductive biomedicine, military life, knowledge production. He is interested in the formation of subjects with a sense of self, identity, and belonging, and asks what role gender, sexuality, and technology play thereby. He studied European Ethnology, Sociology, and Cultural Sciences at Humboldt University, Berlin and completed his PhD in Medical Science and Technology Studies at the University of Copenhagen. His forthcoming book “Being a sperm donor: masculinity, sexuality, and biosociality in Denmark” (Berghahn) explores Danish sperm donors’ lives as they are reformulated through the logics and politics of contemporary reproductive biomedicine.