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Gender dynamics in the donation field: human tissue donation for research, therapy and feeding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-584
Number of pages18
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Issue number3
Early online date13 Aug 2018
DateIn preparation - 2016
DateSubmitted - 20 Jan 2017
DateAccepted/In press - 2 Jul 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 13 Aug 2018
DatePublished (current) - 1 Mar 2019


This paper examines how gender dynamics shape human tissue donation for research and for human health. Drawing on research investigating the donation of different types of bodily tissues including blood, plasma, breastmilk, cord blood, foetal tissue and placentae we consider how and why women and men are viewed as different kinds of donors. We situate these donation practices within a broader understanding of gender difference to explain why any sociology of donation needs to take account of gender. In so doing we explore how tissue derived from the bodies of women acquires value in distinctive ways and for distinctive purposes and reasons. Within these gendered bioeconomies of donation, the supply and demand for tissue is structured by social understandings of maternity, parental responsibility, and risk, which in turn affect the experiences of donors.

    Structured keywords

  • Gender Research Group

    Research areas

  • Biobanks, Blood donation, Breastfeeding, Abortion, Gender, Pregnancy, Placenta

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    Licence: CC BY


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