Skip Navigation LinksHome > May/June 2014 - Volume 39 - Issue 3 > Contexts of Reproductive Loss in Lesbian Couples
MCN, American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/NMC.0000000000000032
Feature: CE Connection

Contexts of Reproductive Loss in Lesbian Couples

Black, Beth Perry PhD, RN; Fields, Wendy Smith MSN, APRN, FNP-C

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Abstract: Lesbian couples seek to become parents in a heteronormative world and in the context of complex biological, social, and legal challenges that may constrain same-sex parenting. Because of these constraints and challenges, lesbian couples experiencing a reproductive loss may encounter issues that heterosexual couples typically will not. Prior to pregnancy, lesbians may experience loss and grief because they cannot conceive a child together without the assistance of a third party. Same-sex families are marginalized; simply deciding to become parents leaves them open to criticism and negative judgment. If pregnancy is not achieved or does not end in a live birth, lesbian couples face decisions about how, whether, and who to conceive a subsequent pregnancy. Although laws vary by state, the social (nonbiological) mother may not have legal status as the child's parent; therefore, the decision of which partner to become pregnant is especially significant. In the event of a reproductive loss, the grief of the social mother might not be acknowledged. Lesbian couples will benefit from the care of a nurse who understands and is accepting of the complex contexts within which they face the challenges of reproductive loss.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


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