Mothers in Same-Sex Relationships Describe the Process of Forming a Family as a Stressful Journey in a Heteronormative World: A Swedish Grounded Theory Study

Heléne Appelgren Engström, Elisabet Häggström-Nordin, Catrin Borneskog, Anna-Lena Almqvist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Objectives The aim of this study was to gain insight into how women in same-sex relationships experience the process of forming a family through the use of assisted reproduction technique (ART), from planning the pregnancy to parenthood, and their experience of parental support from healthcare professionals. Methods The participants were 20 women in a same-sex relationship who had conceived through ART at a Swedish clinic. Semi-structured interviews including open questions about pregnancy, parenthood and support from healthcare professionals were conducted. The interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim. The data were analysed according to grounded theory. Results The core category, A stressful journey through a heteronormative world, emerged from the analysis, as did three subcategories: A journey fraught with difficulties and decisions; The nuclear family as the norm; and A need for psychological support. Same-sex parents expressed a need for more information about how to access ART in Sweden. Both the healthcare organization and treatment were perceived as heteronormative. In particular, these women lacked psychological support during the demanding process of utilizing a sperm donor to conceive. Conclusions for Practice Professionals in antenatal care should undergo mandatory cultural competency training to ensure cultural sensitivity and the provision of updated information, tailored brochures and early parental support for families with same-sex parents. All parents need guidance and support from competent, caring personnel throughout the entire process of forming a family.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1444-1450
Number of pages7
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Volume22
Issue number10
Early online date8 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes

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