Keeping Up Appearances in the Argentine Fertility Clinic. Making Kinship Visible through Race in Donor Conception

Lucía Ariza


Abstract: This article examines ‘phenotype matching’, a procedure used in Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) to coordinate the physical appearance of ova donors with that of recipients. Looking into phenotype matching as a socio-technical arrangement, and on the basis of an STS approach, the articles suggests that race is key in making kinship explicit, a making that is particularly important in the case of donor conception. By examining some of the ways in which race enters, and helps to sustain, a regime of visibility whereby family links need to be made visible in order to count as such, I make two concatenated claims. First, that race allows seeing the differences in bodily colours that may otherwise be too abstract to relate empirically. This making visible of certain features of body contributes, in turn, to the production of race as a material bodily substance. Second, I contend that the avoidance of racial in-coherence between mothers and offspring, which is argued both in ‘scientific’ and ‘social’ terms, helps to make kinship visible, that is, to make it real.

Keywords: assisted reproductive technologies; phenotype matching; race; kinship; Argentina.

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