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Single by Chance, Mothers by ChoiceHow Women are Choosing Parenthood without Marriage and Creating the New American Family$
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Rosanna Hertz

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195179903

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195179903.001.0001

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The Father As An Idea

The Father As An Idea

Chapter:
(p.57) 4 The Father As An Idea
Source:
Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice
Author(s):

Rosanna Hertz

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195179903.003.0015

This chapter explores how donor-assisted families construct an absent father to fit with the dictates of the master narrative that all children have physical fathers. It turns out that the women who most easily resurrect the father are those who conceive by known donors. They build into this agreement that the child will have at least a face for his or her father, even though this man is not expected to have a social relationship with the child. On the other hand, women who use anonymous donors have to construct these men from paper alone. The mother and child together fashion a suitable father, bringing an anonymous donor to life from a list of details.

Keywords:   donor-assisted families, absent father, master narrative, physical father, anonymous donors, reconstructing fathers

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