Lesbian Motherhood and Artificial Reproductive Technologies in North America: Race, Gender, Kinship, and the Reproduction of Dominant Narratives


Artificial Reproductive Technologies
Critical Race Theory

How to Cite

Smith, Z. (2022). Lesbian Motherhood and Artificial Reproductive Technologies in North America: Race, Gender, Kinship, and the Reproduction of Dominant Narratives. Pathways, 3(1), 71–81. https://doi.org/10.29173/pathways29


This paper reviews current ethnographic literature on lesbian motherhood as it relates to artificial reproductive technologies (ART) through intersectional, biopolitical and critical-race frameworks. I argue that white, lesbian intending mothers intersecting identity markers of whiteness and queerness place them in a unique position within ART discourses. ART functions as a biopolitical mechanism which aims to normalize and naturalize privilege in hierarchized power structures, while suggesting that the meanings that it produces are objectively scientific rather than socially constructed. I suggest that ART mechanizes white lesbian women’s insecurities as queer women, nearing the falsified construction of ideal motherhood, by exerting pressure on them to conform and therefore, reproduce dominant reproduction narratives. Simultaneously, I assert that white, lesbian, intending mothers’ positionality could enable critical interrogation into the harmful social stratifications that ART perpetuates based on race, class, ability, and sexuality. In sum, a review of relevant literature is used to posit that women privileged within dominant ART discourses must utilize that privilege to create meaningful change.



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