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Physis: Revista de Saúde Coletiva

versão impressa ISSN 0103-7331versão On-line ISSN 1809-4481


COSTA, Rosely Gomes. What can gamete donor selection tell us about notions of race. Physis [online]. 2004, vol.14, n.2, pp.235-255. ISSN 1809-4481.

This article, resulting from research currently under way, analyzes how gamete donor selection is conducted for in vitro fertilization and its relationship to notions on race. Who makes this choice? Which characteristics are taken into account, and how (and to what extent) do these characteristics point to notions pertaining to race? The research focuses on physicians and individuals requesting gamete donation techniques in private clinics and a public hospital in the interior of São Paulo State and at semen banks in the city of São Paulo. The article discusses: the importance of phenotypical similarities between donors and recipients, as emphasized by both physicians and patients; physicians' intervention in (and control over) donor selection; racial classifications used by medical institutions in this selection; and gamete recipients' requests for donors that are similar to or "lighter-skinned" than themselves, whether to keep the gamete donation secret or with the purpose of avoiding future racial discrimination against the child.

Palavras-chave : Assisted reproduction; gamete donation; kinship; race; racial classification.

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