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Random Families is about the unprecedented families that have grown up at the intersection of new reproductive technologies, social media, and the human desire for belonging. Children of the same donor and their families, with the help of the internet, can now locate each other and make contact. Based on over 350 interviews with children (ages 10-28), their parents and related donors from all over the U.S., Random Families chronicles the chain of choices that couples and single mothers make from what donor to use to how to participate (or not) in donor sibling networks. Children reveal their understanding of a donor, the donor's spot on the family tree and the meaning of their donor siblings. Through rich first-person accounts of network membership, the book illustrates how these extraordinary relationships-woven from bits of online information and shared genetic ties-are transformed into new possibilities for kinship. Random Families offers down-to-earth stories from real families to highlight just how truly distinctive these contemporary new forms of family are.
About the Author
Rosanna Hertz is the 1919 50th Reunion Professor of Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies at Wellesley College. She authored the widely acclaimed Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice, a path-breaking study of women who choose parenthood without marriage. She is frequently sought out by national media on issues related to women, work and changing families in contemporary society. Margaret K. Nelson is the A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Sociology Emerita at Middlebury College where she taught for four decades. Her books include Working Hard and Making Do: Surviving in Small Town America (with Joan Smith), and Parenting Out of Control: Anxious Parents in Uncertain Times.