Does an embryo make a family? Embryo donation in France

Event time: 
Friday, February 12, 2016 - 3:00pm
210 Prospect Street See map
Event description: 

“Does an embryo make a family? Embryo donation in France”
 Séverine Mathieu, Professor of Sociology, Université Lille 1, France
Friday, February 12th, 3 - 4:30pm
210 Prospect Street, Room 203
Following up her previous research on assisted reproductive technologies, Séverine Mathieu is now conducting research about people who are giving or receiving frozen embryos. In France, embryo donation is still a rare practice. In 2013, in Lille (North of France), where this research is being conducted, 23 frozen embryos were defrosted, and 10 transfers were done, which resulted in 4 pregnancies and 3 live births. Around 30 consultations were observed, and 19 in-depth interviews were conducted (10 with couples donating embryos and 9 with recipients, a total of 38 people). The analysis is focused on the following questions: How do givers and recipients conceive parenthood and parentage? How do they represent an embryo? Is it different according to gender? Here questions of temporality and process are fundamental. It appears that being a parent modifies how one considers the embryo. We can then propose that representations of the embryo have many layers of meaning, tied to scientific conceptions, moral values, and representations of children.
Séverine Mathieu is professor of sociology at Université de Lille 1. She has been working on the ethical stakes and representations of family in assisted reproductive technologies for several years. Her publications include: “Parentés contemporaines” (editor with M. Gourarier), Journal des Anthropologues, Forthcoming 2016; L’enfant des possibles: Assistance médicale à la procréation, éthique, religion et filiation, Paris, Editions de l’Atelier, 2013; and Sacrées familles! Changements familiaux, changements religieux, (editor, with M. Gross and S. Nizard), Paris, Editions Erès, 2011.