The golden cage of sperm banking industry

Ya'arit Bokek-Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The present article aims at exploring whether, if at all, women can achieve any degree of procreative liberty by shopping for sperm donations in commercial sperm banks, which is an understudied arena for evaluating maternal agency and freedom of mind. In order to address this topic, a content analysis of 180 donor profiles from six American sperm banks was conducted. Data analysis provided vital evidence of symbolic violence and reproduction of male symbolic capital by manipulating those women who dared to challenge the heterosexist social order. Rather than exercising free choice, customers of sperm donations, mostly unmarried women, shop for masculinized sperm, and in doing so they are forced to make a patriarchal bargain. Masculinized catalogues contribute to delegitimizing non-traditional gender images and family structures. Recipients of donations are not the only victims of symbolic violence; their yet-to-be-born children are also subject to the same manipulation. Since these children strive to read their biological fathers' characteristics, the donor profile functions as a socializing medium which enables men to deliver a cultural legacy to the next generation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-118
Number of pages12
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Dive into the research topics of 'The golden cage of sperm banking industry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this