Making Bodies, Making Relatives. Family Resemblances and Relatedness in the Age of Assisted Reproductive Technologies


  • Simonetta Grilli


Parole chiave:

family resemblances, relatedness, assisted reproduction, online discussion groups, Italy


This essay deals with the meaning of family resemblances from the perspective of infertile couples who resort to assisted reproduction involving donation of gametes or embryos. Focusing on an online discussion forum, we try to grasp the value of resemblance for people who cannot boast genetic bonds with their children, and to appreciate the way this bodily dimension is managed socially. For most of them, resemblance talk “is not only an accepted form of public discourse but also a societal convention that reaffirms family relationships and social relationships more generally” (Becker et al. 2005, p. 1301). In particular we can appreciate the efforts made to construct bodily similarities through specific medical (e.g. matching managed by medical staff) or social practices (how the child’s body is molded socially).






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