2004
Volume 16, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1388-3186
  • E-ISSN: 2352-2437

Abstract

In 1998 and 2002, U.K. citizen Diane Blood conceived sons from a sample of her late husband Stephen’s sperm in a private Belgian fertility clinic. Although Stephen’s sperm was illegally harvested from his comatose body in 1995, the British Court of Appeal decided in 1997 that Diane was not to be prevented from consuming commercial infertility service in a European member state pursuant to the terms of the Treaty of Rome (1957). As a result, I try to show, Stephen’s sperm was effectively reconstituted as a material resource, passive and dispossessed, for usage in a commercial transaction. This article discusses the ramifications and implications of this case and the developments it pinpoints, and calls for a reconsideration of the consensus view according to which (material) sex and (discursive) gender are seen as distinct from each other, if not altogether opposed to each other. From the perspective of the Diane Blood case, the article revisits the advantages and drawbacks of the sex/gender split in influential writings by Eve Sedgwick and Judith Butler, then to move to indicate a persistent association between an excessive materiality and femininity running from Aristotle to contemporary psychoanalytic theory (Kristeva). After analyzing the paradoxical and anachronistic forms of maternity that inform the Blood case, I conclude that medical, commercial and technological advances have forged the full materialization of the male body and its reproductive capability, thus questioning the very form of gender in the future.

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/content/journals/10.5117/TVGEND2013.3.AYDE
2013-09-01
2021-12-07
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  • Article Type: Research Article
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