Risky Mixings: Unravelling Gametes’ Bad Potential in Argentina

Lucía Ariza


Abstract: In both the expert and mass media cultures to which they simultaneously belong, ova and sperm have come to figure prominently as entities of potentiality, of expansion of the vital capabilities of bodies and of regeneration of their exhausted capacities. This article looks into the practices of gamete exchange in Argentina to argue, however, a different story. It contends that for all the good potentiality that gametes have come to represent, they are also entangled in webs of risk. They can be extracted too much or too often, decrease their provider’s expectation of good health, or create wrongful (i.e. incestuous and/or endogamous) bodily links between individuals. Drawing on analyses of the actual use of statistical measures in the clinic; and of ways of understanding kinship that are particular to Argentina, the article suggests that the handling of gametes as risky substances may ultimately work to produce the risks that it only aims to prevent. The study brought together the literature on kinship and science studies in order to frame the problematic of kinship and risk management in technoscience.

Keywords: donor conception; gametes; numerical devices; risk; Argentina.

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