Same, same but different: Lesbian couples undergoing sperm donation

Dr Catrin Borneskog

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Introduction: The desire to have children and form a family is for many people central for life fulfilment and the desire does not differ by sexual orientation. Due to a series of societal changes during the last decade, today we see a lesbian baby boom. Planned lesbian families are a relatively new group of patients and parents in reproductive health care, yet little is known about psychological wellbeing during the transition to parenthood in these families.

Aim: The overall aim of this thesis was to fill a gap of knowledge about the psychological aspects of undergoing treatment with donated sperm, at the time of pregnancy and during early parenthood that affect lesbian couples forming a family.

Method: This is a multicentre study comprising all 7 university clinics that perform gamete donation. The study includes lesbian couples undergoing treatment with donated sperm and heterosexual couples undergoing IVF treatment with their own gametes. Participants were recruited consecutively during 2005 and 2008. 165 lesbian couples and 151 heterosexual couples participated in the study. Participants responded to questionnaires at three time points (T); time point 1 (T1) at the commencement of treatment, (T2) after the first round of treatment, around 2 month after T1 and (T3) 12-18 months after first treatment when a presumptive child had reached 1 year. Data was analysed with statistical methodology.

Results: Lesbian couples reported an all over high satisfaction with relationship quality, good psychological wellbeing and low parenting stress. Heterosexual couples also reported good satisfaction with relationship quality, however somewhat lower than the lesbian couples. Parenting stress in the heterosexual couples was similar to the lesbian couples. A strong association was found between high relationship satisfaction and low parenting stress.

Conclusions: Lesbian couples forming a family through sperm donation treatment are satisfied with their relationships, they report a good psychological health and experiences of low parenting stress.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Uppsala University
  • Skoog Svanberg, Agneta , Supervisor, External person
  • Sydsjö, Gunilla, Supervisor, External person
  • Lampic, Claudia, Supervisor, External person
Award date13 Dec 2013
Print ISBNs9789155488031
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2013


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