“We all have families that we are born (or adopted) into, and often we also have families that we choose. Another new kind of kinship is emerging based upon sharing the same gamete donor,” says Rosanna Hertz ’77 MA, ’83 PhD, co-author of Random Families: Genetic Strangers, Sperm Donor Siblings and the Creation of New Kin (2019). With new reproductive technologies set to upend the concept of family, Hertz, a professor at Wellesley College, interviewed more than 350 children (ages 10–28), their parents and donors to explore how they used cultural narratives about genes and genetics to understand their relationship to their immediate families and donor networks. She says her research spoke to an “opening up of ideas about family.” Ultimately, Hertz presents an investigation of how we create belonging and intimacy and how these new forms of family open up possibilities for greater connection and kinship.
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