The Transformation of Family Ties as a Result of Assisted Reproductive Technologies




reproductive donation, assisted reproductive technology, family bonds, genetic parenthood, social parenthood, reproductive rights


Third-party involvement in parenting projects alters our perception of kin and family ties. Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) cause a fragmentation of parenthood: parental contributions are differentiated into technical operations, while some of these operations are delegated to third parties during conception, gestation, birth, and upbringing. In this article, the authors focus on the discussion of reproductive legislation and demonstrate how ART are medicalised with a view to ensuring an imitation of genetic kinship in the interests of infertile couples. In the second part, the authors analyse recent scholarship in psychology on the social, psychological, and ethical challenges that families encounter because genetic and social parenthood become separated by ART. The re-assembling of family bonds involves linguistic, conceptual, and relationship levels. The authors highlight the trend towards the deanonymisation of reproductive donations and the inclusion of donors into parental projects. In the third part, the article focuses on the practices of informal sperm donation and the formation of new family and kin bonds that are based on genetic kinship and in various combinations may include donors and/or children conceived by one donor and their social parents. The article refers to interviews with sperm donors who offer their services through special online platforms. These men invest in effective donation but are not interested in sexual or marital relations with the recipient women. However, they agree to commit to supporting the recipients and parenting their offspring. As a result, co-parenting transcends traditional family ties by reconfiguring genetic and social parenthood. The authors conclude that in the modern world, family bonds are undergoing a major reconceptualisation due to the development of ART.

Author Biographies

Elvira Symaniuk

Dr. Hab. (Psychology), Head of the Department of General and Social Psychology, Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin.

19, Mira Str., 620002, Yekaterinburg, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0002-7591-7230

Irina Polyakova

Research Fellow, Interregional Institute of Social Sciences, Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin.

19, Mira Str., 620002, Yekaterinburg, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0002-9619-2152

Andrey Menshikov

PhD (Philosophy), Head of the Research Center for Comparative Studies of Toleration and Recognition, Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin.

19, Mira Str., 620002, Yekaterinburg, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0003-1070-2551


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How to Cite

Symaniuk, E., Polyakova, I., & Menshikov, A. (2022). The Transformation of Family Ties as a Result of Assisted Reproductive Technologies. Quaestio Rossica, 10(2), 657–676.



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