Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Lesbian couples, Lesbians-Medical care, Artificial insemination, Human, Fertility clinics, Fertility, Lesbian, Reproductive technologies


This qualitative study explores the experience of lesbian couples that have used, are using, or attempted to use fertility services since 2003. Thirty-three self identified lesbian women who were in a lesbian relationship at the time of using fertility services participated in the study by completing an online survey consisting of primarily open ended questions. Demographic information such as age and race were asked about both member of the couple.. Findings were analyzed using content analysis. Participant narratives revealed the complexities, challenges, successes, supports relied upon and obstacles encountered when using fertility services; as well as the strength and resiliency of lesbian couples. The findings illustrate the need for gay friendly fertility service providers and resources. The major findings revealed that the process of using fertility services for lesbian couples involves multiple decisions prior to accessing fertility services, lesbian couples have varied experiences at fertility clinics and working with providers, there are obstacles when approaching and/or using fertility clinics, there are supports that are needed, the experience impacts the couples relationship, and some lesbian couples experience instances of discrimination and heterosexism. Findings not found in the literature included obstacles in using a known donor and evidence of heterosexist practices within insurance and medical policy's, family law, paper work, and in interactions with providers at clinics.




iv, 74 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 63-65)