How Lesbians and Gay Men Decide to Become Parents or Remain Childfree

  • Nancy J. Mezey


This chapter examines the understudied question of how lesbians and gay men choose to become parents or remain childfree. The limited research suggests that several factors shape how lesbians and gay men decide to become parents or remain childfree, including personal considerations, support networks, work-related issues, and intimate partner relationships. Existing research also suggests that the role of these factors in parental decision making is shaped by race, class, gender, and sexuality. In general, those with greater race and class privilege tend to have greater access to material resources, to receive greater support from family members, and to intentionally decide to become parents. This chapter reviews past literature on lesbian and gay parenting decisions, suggests new questions for further research, and discusses how studying lesbian and gay men’s parenting decisions informs our understanding of families in general. Reviewing the literature shows how lesbian and gay men’s parenting decision-making processes are socially constructed. In addition, the chapter sheds light on why and how diverse family forms develop at particular historical moments in time. One of the most pressing questions for future research is how race, class, disability, nationality, and geographic location shape parenting decision-making processes.


Sexual Identity Heterosexual Woman Lesbian Mother Donor Insemination Adoption Agency 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science and SociologyMonmouth UniversityWest Long BranchUSA

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