“Tango for Two”: Women’s Interviews in Clinical Reproductive Practice





guide, narrative, reproduction, infertility, donors, autobiography, selfdescription


This article attempts to combine data obtained through interviews by a psychologist of female donors participating in an assisted reproductive technology program and interpret them through narrative analysis and communicative situation analysis. The article describes the structure of an oocyte-donor which has never been done before with reference to Russian-language material. An ethical platform for the study is openness to a new type of scientific knowledge that results from the interpretation of the informants’ answers who try to comprehend their motives to donate. The narrative analysis of 21 transcripts helps determine the roles of the interviewer and the informant at each stage and their contribution to the discussion-testing communicative situation. The interview includes several stages, such as “a window to the past”, at which the autobiographical narrative is recorded as comprehensively as possible; a description of the donor’s current state which focuses on strategies for solving problem situations; the interview ends with a series of thought experiments that allow the psychologist to assess the emotional stability of the potential donor and make a forecast regarding the prospects for long-term cooperation with the reproductive medicine clinic. The paper outlines the cases of participants’ cooperation and mismatches in building a credible and value-consistent autobiographical narrative that includes the donation experience. The authors seek to fit this experience into a broader value context, including a compensatory one related to the urgent problems of potential donors. Women’s answers help specify the concept of donor ‘multi-motivation’. The ambiguity of public opinion regarding donation as a reproductive medicine phenomenon is expressed in the fact that the availability of information for those who are aware of the issue co-exists with donors’ persistent reluctance to display their activity outside the inner circle. Research perspectives include the need to consider the narrative contribution of each participant in the situation of reproduction, i. e. physicians, donors, and recipient parents, and its further use in practice.

Author Biographies

Natalya Gramatchikova

PhD (Philology), Senior Researcher, Institute of History, and Archaeology, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

16, S. Kovalevskaya Str., 620990, Yekaterinburg, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0002-2585-7399


Irina Polyakova

PhD (Sociology), Research Fellow, Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin.

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

ORCID 0000-0002-9619-2152



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How to Cite

Gramatchikova, N., & Polyakova, I. (2023). “Tango for Two”: Women’s Interviews in Clinical Reproductive Practice. Quaestio Rossica, 11(2), 554–570. https://doi.org/10.15826/qr.2023.2.805



Problema voluminis