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Making Modern Families with Donor Eggs and Donor Sperm: A Conversation with Dr. Diane Tober

Dr. Diane Tober, a medical anthropologist and adjunct professor at the University of California San Francisco’s Institute for Health and Aging, joined me on the July 25th The Egg Whisperer Show to talk about her new book, a film she has in the works and her ongoing research into the role sperm and egg donation plays in the changing meanings of modern family. Dr. Tober has been researching egg and sperm donation for over 25 years, and in this time, she has seen the cultural landscape change — and the number of donor-conceived children increase as more single women, and LGBT couples start families with donor eggs and sperm.

I was really interested in how people felt about donors, and how perceptions of genetics influenced donor choice

In her new book, Romancing the Sperm: Shifting Biopolitics and the Making of Modern Families, she explores the intersections between the sperm banking industry, the men who provide sperm, and the single women and lesbian couples who use donor sperm to conceive their children. In the introduction to the book she explains: “This book situates women’s experiences creating families during the onset of the so-called “lesbian baby boom” and the rise of “Single Mothers by Choice,” but also ultimately explores the role of technology in the shifting landscape of family creation from the 1990s to today.” This summer, Tober received a National Science Foundation research grant to continue her research on egg donation in the US and Spain.

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Fertility Doctor, Reproductive Endocrinologist, Egg Whisperer:

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