Challenges and mental health experiences of lesbian and bisexual women who are trying to conceive

Health Soc Work. 2010 Aug;35(3):191-200. doi: 10.1093/hsw/35.3.191.

Abstract

To date, there is little evidence to inform social work practice with lesbian and bisexual women who are trying to conceive (TTC). The authors report a preliminary examination of the mental health experiences of lesbian and bisexual women who are TTC, through a comparison with lesbian and bisexual women in the postpartum period (PP). Thirty-three lesbian and bisexual women (TTC, n = 15; PP, n = 18) completed standardized questionnaires assessing symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as relationship satisfaction and perceived social support. Qualitative interviews were also conducted to further investigate the experience of TTC. No significant differences were found between groups on any of the dependent variables. Analysis of qualitative data highlighted the challenges for lesbian and bisexual women who are TTC, particularly in terms of difficulty conceiving, lack of support during the conception process, and heterosexism in the fertility system. Women perceived these challenges to conception as having emotional consequences. The findings from this study begin to elucidate the unique context of TTC for lesbian and bisexual women, and they highlight the importance of culturally competent social work practice with this population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety
  • Bisexuality / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Depression
  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*
  • Ontario
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted / psychology*
  • Social Support
  • Social Work
  • Spouses / psychology