Tine Ravn

Strategies for Life: Lived Realities of Solo Motherhood, Kinship and Medically Assisted Reproduction

During the past three decades, advances within medically assisted reproduction (MAR) have led to its rapid development and expansion, and having a child via assisted reproduction has become increasingly normalised. However, the very notion of reproductive technology remains paradoxical and seems to simultaneously mirror and destabilize our ‘natural’ assumptions about reproduction and kinship relations, and transgresses dichotomies like nature/culture and biology/sociality. Reproductive technology has increasingly become the foundation for creation of ‘new families’ such as the solo mother family. Since 2007, when single and lesbian women were granted legal access to public fertility treatments in Denmark, a steadily increasing number of Danish women have chosen to become mothers and establish solo mother families through assisted reproduction. The dissertation revolves around an empirically based investigation of solo motherhood through assisted reproduction and explores the processes of change between science, technology and society that are brought on by the interaction between reproductive technologies and sociocultural practices. The dissertation makes use of the narrative biographical method (alongside expert interviews, field observations and policy analysis) as its primary method of inquiry. Thus, the work explores personal narratives about lived realities of solo motherhood, family formation and assisted reproduction, in order to uncover how established, societal cultural narratives are adopted/negotiated/transformed in the processes of decision-making and treatment.

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