Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




The technological imperative that exists within the framework of society in the United States has facilitated the unprecedented emergence of new reproductive technologies, including the use of donated gametes. The 2002 National Survey of Family Growth informs us that 7.4% of married women aged 15-44 are unable to get pregnant for at least 12 consecutive months, labeled infertility, and that 11.8% of women aged 15-44 have an impaired ability to have children, labeled impaired fecundity (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2005). This, paired with the social conventions of child rearing, is one prime indication that gamete donation is an increasingly important process. I address the research question, how do college students in our society feel about gamete donation, in terms of the human body as a divisible and marketable entity? The relatively unintrusive nature of procuring semen, and the regenerative quality of the substance, poses an ethical question of the human body and its components as divisible and marketable. Similar is the female body, though the amounts of eggs are more finite than sperm, and the process is more intrusive and time consuming, creating a gender division. Current research describes donor motivations recorded after the fact, but I look at why white, middle-class University at Albany students would or would not donate. I have found that overall these individuals lack the financial strain that may motivate unorthodox methods of making money, and as such do not wish to provide gametes for strangers. Understanding prospective donors' attitudes has the potential to increase the efficiency of the donation process, as well as to increase the quality of the personal experiences of those involved.

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Anthropology Commons