Date of Award

Fall 12-16-2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Wendy Simonds

Second Advisor

Erin Ruel

Third Advisor

Elisabeth Burgess

Abstract

Egg and sperm donation are increasingly popular methods of artificial reproductive technology (ART), but they are also a commercialized industry that perpetuates and bolsters sexist and classist attitudes. They do this through creating a new form of eugenics where consumers choose their donors based off hegemonic ideals of attractiveness and worth. In this study, I conducted a content analysis of sperm and fresh or frozen egg donation websites to examine how agencies perpetuate sexism in their posted screening requirements for donors. Results support the claim that agencies screen in sexist ways. I also examined how these agencies navigate eugenic ideas in their communication to donors and consumers. Research on this topic is important in order to understand how current artificial reproductive technology (ART) industries bolster sexist ideals and serve as a warning for how people might use gene-editing technology.

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