Teaching Moms and Dads to Perform the Family: Rhetoric and Assisted Reproductive Technology Websites


Manuel Castells (2007) argues Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) are transformative technologies that uncouple gender from biology and redefine how families are conceptualized. ART, after all, allows for numerous sorts of family relationships (e.g. families made through surrogacy and/or gamete donation) and provides prospective moms and dads new reproductive choices. Parents—whether LGBTQ, hetero, single, or as couples—whose reproductive choices are limited due to bio/medical issues or societal/cultural constraints have greater opportunities to conceive biologically related children. "Teaching Moms and Dads" takes Castells's understanding of ART seriously and shows how ART companies' (i.e. companies offering sperm donation, egg donation, and surrogacy services) visual rhetoric of parenthood and family on their websites reflect and deflect ART's transformative possibilities.

Keywords:  Visual Rhetoric, Assisted Reproductive Technologies, Gender, Parenthood