Finding the “Appropriate Distance” in Egg Donor Kinship Relations

  • Matilde Lykkebo Petersen
Keywords: egg donation, egg donor, kinship, family making, motherhood, monomaternalism, heteronormativity, kinship choreography


This article explores kinship formation from the perspective of egg donors in Denmark. Through interviews with Danish egg donors, it investigates how the Danish legal framework and specific context, materialise egg donor kinship relations in third party reproduction. The article shows the ways egg donors negotiate normative ideals about family and motherhood through different kinship strategies. It argues that the donors’ relational kinship work is a form of social pioneering work, wherein donors help define what an egg donor kinship relation is and can be. This is analysed through the analytical concept of “appropriate distance.” The analysis shows how different normative constraints are embedded in the legal framework that structure which kinship relations are available. As an example, the different donor types in Denmark, anonymous, open, and known, become a way of disconnecting or connecting to kinship. In line with existing studies, it demonstrates how egg donation in Denmark is structured around ideals of altruism linked to normative ideals of femininity and motherhood. Further, it is concluded that egg donation proposes subversive potential for deconstructing heteronormative kinship ideals about motherhood. At the same time, however, the analyses conclude that heteronormative family ideals often are re-installed through egg donation practices.


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How to Cite
Lykkebo Petersen, M. (2020). Finding the “Appropriate Distance” in Egg Donor Kinship Relations. Lambda Nordica, 24(2-3), 136-170.