Donor insemination families : a qualitative exploration of being lesbian parents raising sperm donor children in South Africa.
This research aimed to explore the parenting experiences of lesbian women who chose to have children through artificial insemination. While this study aimed to explore the experience of being a lesbian parent in South Africa generally, its intent was to be primarily vigilant of the particular challenges that face lesbian parents having children (through sperm donation) within the broader context of heterosexuality in South Africa. Using the voice-centred relational method of analysis, two separate interviews with a lesbian parenting couple were analysed. The findings revealed a number of expected and some unexpected challenges that lesbian parents of sperm donor children reportedly contend with. The overall finding was that lesbian parenting is a significantly challenging experience. Whilst it can be argued that parenting for all individuals is fraught with difficulties, what this study highlights is that for lesbian parents, typical parenting difficulties are exacerbated by societal judgment and lack of support. It is hoped that this research will contribute to filing the vast gap in South African literature relating to lesbian parenting as well as provide the impetus for further research relating to this topic to be conducted within South Africa. This research also intends to provide an educational resource to potential lesbian mothers as well as to lesbian parents who may possibly seek solace in the awareness they are not alone in terms of the challenges which they may face. Last but certainly not least, it is hoped that the insights of this study may assist psychologists in improving their competency in working with same sex parent populations by cultivating knowledge, understanding, self reflection and empathy skills.