Lesbian Infertility: Queering Assisted Reproductive Technology and Examining Policy Impacts on the LGBTQ Community
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Infertility affects one out of every ten couples attempting conceive. According to a recent study; “ten percent of women (6.1 million) in the United States ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant and staying pregnant” (Center For Disease Control, 2018). Of these 10% of women in heterosexual relationships only about 1-2% are able to access Assisted Reproductive Technology (Katz, et. al, 2011). As recently at 2014 only about sixty percent of fertility clinics reported treating any same sex couples and only with the passage of federal marriage legislation in 2016 were clinics finally mandated to treat all married couples seeking fertility treatment. (Carpinello, 2016). This decision did not however extinguish all barriers for lesbian couples to use assisted reproductive technology to conceive a child. Some of these barriers are more difficult to recognize because they reinforce the status quo without restriction. For example, in most cases heterosexual couples in policy are referred to as a family, while most same sex relationship are conceived of as only a couple. This slight semiotic difference puts a burden of proof on lesbian couples wishing to begin the processes of family formation and it is only one way in which queer families are sent back when attempting to conceive. This paper will discuss economic and procedural barriers that disproportionately affect lesbian couples in their journey to parenthood through the utilization of assisted reproductive technology by centering the voices of those with person experience in these processes. By giving agency back to lesbian couples who have spent their life savings to start a family only to be given a psychological evaluation and dragged through the process of second parent adoption with allow for a clear sight line to the root of the problem, heteronormativity in reproductive practices.
- MA in Policy Studies