Y. A. Taylor
University of Missouri-Kansas City
In the article I reviewed, an exploratory study was done on eleven young adults, ages 19-29 years of age, who have been raised by lesbian parents to gain a better understanding of how they perceive their donor, negotiate a relationship with him, and what ideas they may have about him in the familial form. The study was initiated to young adults, age 14-29, with Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual (LGB) parents primarily via listserv announcements and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Queer (LGBTQ) Centers on college campuses throughout the United States. According to Author Abbie Goldberg (2013), participants were informed that the study was to gain a better ‘understanding of their perspectives on marriage (in)equality, as well as their experiences growing up in LGB parent-families in general.’ The focus of the analysis was centered around the following interview questions: “What type of family situation where you born/adopted into? Who do you consider your parents? What is the sexual orientation of each of your parents? Of your donor? Tell me about your relationship with each parent, and with the donor?” (Goldberg, 2013, p. 342).
In the past, little research has explored the relationships children have and the views they may have of their donors. What has been examined included a small study of children ages 4-11, conceived via a known donor, and their lesbian mothers. In total, eleven subjects participated in this particular study. The participants were interviewed about what role the donor played in the child’s life. Of the eleven participants, two of them indicated that the donor played no role in the child’s life. Of the nine whose donors were involved, four indicated the donor’s role was that of “acting like a father.” There was less agreement in the other five cases between the mother and child due to a variety of reasons surrounding donor’s involvement.
It appears that lesbian parents tend to be more open with their children regarding their conception and the use of a donor in that process, compared to straight parents (Goldberg, 2013).
Eleven participants, ages 19-29 participated in the study. All participants were born in and resided in the United States at the time of the study. All participants were born to lesbian mothers via known sperm donors. Ten of the eleven participants were born to 2 lesbian mothers in committed relationships, one was born to a single lesbian mother who intentionally co-parented the child with a former girlfriend. Ten of the eleven participants stated their mothers chose their donors based on an existing relationship. In seven of those ten cases, the donor was specified as a male friend. In the other three of those ten cases, the donor was specified as being the husband or male partner of a female friend. Nine of the eleven participants identified their donor’s sexual orientation. In seven of the nine cases, he was identified as being heterosexual, in the other two cases he was identified as being gay. In regards to gender, eight participants identified as female, two as male and one as queer. In regards to race, ten participants identified as White, one as multiracial. The only data obtained on the participants’ parents was their education levels. One mother had a high school diploma, two completed some college, ten had a bachelor’s degree, five had a master’s degree and four had a doctoral degree.
After a semi-structured in-depth telephone interview, the focus of the analysis was how the participants perceived their donors or the relationships they had with them. Each interview was analyzed and coded. Terms like “donor’s role” was replaced with three more specific codes: (a) donor only; (b) extended family member; (c) father/parent” (Goldberg, 2013). The coding was revised seven times.
Nine of the eleven participants