Donors we choose: Race, nation and the biopolitics of (queer) assisted reproduction in Scandinavia

Ulrika Dahl*, Rikke Andreassen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In the 2000s, same sex partnership laws, new reproductive technologies, and legislation rendering lesbian couples and single women eligible for state-funded
assisted reproduction with donated gametes in the Scandinavian nations has resulted in significant changes in family formation. Drawing on two separate qualitative studies, this paper scrutinizes Scandinavia’s alleged progressive LGBTQ politics by critically examining how ideas of kinship, race and nation shape ideas of ‘donor matching’ amongst queer parents in Sweden and Denmark. Through empirical analysis, we explore how the conditional invitation of queers into family making via state regulated assisted reproduction is entangled with racialised medical and commercial
choices of donors that reflect historically specific ideas of race. In particular, we show how whiteness is framed as desirable and how being ‘racialised non-white’ is framed as a risk that ought to be minimised for children who are already considered ‘disadvantaged’ by being born into ‘queer’ families. Thus, we argue that contemporary queer reproduction is not only central to homonationalism, it can also be seen as a continuation of eugenic and biopolitical initiatives that have been central to the emergence of Scandinavian welfare states. We conclude by proposing further scrutiny of contemporary queer reproduction as a potential ‘white-washing’ technique to manage populations.
Original languageEnglish
VolumeOnline first
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Important note from the publisher regarding the attached version of the article: This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at:


  • Donor sperm
  • Eugenics
  • Queer assisted reproduction
  • Race
  • Scandinavia
  • Whiteness

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