Journal Article

Seeking Sperm: Accounts of Lesbian Couples’ Reproductive Decision-Making and Understandings of the Needs of the Child

Kathryn Almack

in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

Volume 20, issue 1, pages 1-22
Published in print April 2006 | ISSN: 1360-9939
Published online February 2006 | e-ISSN: 1464-3707 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/lawfam/ebi030
Seeking Sperm: Accounts of Lesbian Couples’ Reproductive Decision-Making and Understandings of the Needs of the Child

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Same-sex couples and their children have been the subject of significant international attention over recent years, including debates about planned parenthood in the context of same-sex relationships (Donovan, 2000; Dempsey, 2004; Luttichau, 2004; Vonk, 2004; Ryan-Flood, 2005). Drawing on a qualitative study of lesbian parent families in the UK, this article contributes further to these debates through a discussion of respondents’ accounts of their reproductive decision-making. I discuss the socio-legal discourses around the legitimacy of the lesbian parent family created by donor insemination and examine how respondents react to these discourses. I identify an overarching preoccupation within these accounts which is concerned with addressing the needs of children. The dominant notions of how best to meet children’s needs established in contemporary UK family policy pose considerable tensions for the lesbian parent family. In seeking to resolve these tensions, parents in my study reinterpret and develop different understandings of how best to meet these needs. Their accounts reveal the complexity of the considerable efforts of families raising children in family forms that fall outside the normative order to address the needs of the child, and the disjunctions between everyday understandings of children’s needs and those constructed through policy and family law.

Journal Article.  9723 words. 

Subjects: Family Law ; Marriage and the Family

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