Couples, Grief, Lesbians, Pregnancy.



  1. Black, Beth Perry PhD, RN
  2. Fields, Wendy Smith MSN, APRN, FNP-C


Abstract: Lesbian couples seek to become parents in a heteronormative world and in the context of complex biological, social, and legal challenges that may constrain same-sex parenting. Because of these constraints and challenges, lesbian couples experiencing a reproductive loss may encounter issues that heterosexual couples typically will not. Prior to pregnancy, lesbians may experience loss and grief because they cannot conceive a child together without the assistance of a third party. Same-sex families are marginalized; simply deciding to become parents leaves them open to criticism and negative judgment. If pregnancy is not achieved or does not end in a live birth, lesbian couples face decisions about how, whether, and who to conceive a subsequent pregnancy. Although laws vary by state, the social (nonbiological) mother may not have legal status as the child's parent; therefore, the decision of which partner to become pregnant is especially significant. In the event of a reproductive loss, the grief of the social mother might not be acknowledged. Lesbian couples will benefit from the care of a nurse who understands and is accepting of the complex contexts within which they face the challenges of reproductive loss.