What does it mean for youngsters to grow up in a lesbian family created by means of donor insemination?

J Reprod Infant Psychol. 2002 Nov;20(4):237-52. doi: 10.1080/0264683021000033165.


In many countries fertility services still refuse to inseminate lesbian couples because they believe the child's welfare would be at stake. One of their concerns is that these children will be stigmatized because of their non-traditional family structure. In this follow-up study, we interviewed children from lesbian donor insemination (DI) families about how they present their 'non-traditional' family to people in their immediate social environment. We also explored whether or not children were teased or harassed about their lesbian family and whether or not coping with a non-traditional family constellation was reflected in their psychological well-being. According to this study, almost all children from lesbian DI families share the fact that they live in a two-mother unit spontaneously with close friends who react positively. Others are only informed about the non-traditional family structure when they ask questions about it. From the children's answers, we can conclude that for some peers it is hard to understand that someone can have two mothers without having a father somewhere. Compared with children from heterosexual families, these DI children are not more likely to be teased but they are more prone to family-related teasing incidents. However, introducing their non-traditional family into their peer group does not seem to interfere with their psychological well-being. Nonetheless, teachers indicate that children from lesbian families experience more attention problems compared with children from heterosexual households.

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / etiology
  • Belgium
  • Child
  • Child Welfare / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Insemination, Artificial, Heterologous / psychology*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Peer Group
  • Rejection, Psychology
  • Self Concept
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Spermatozoa