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New research is challenging some long-held assertions that lesbian couples are somehow less equipped to raise healthy children compared to a traditional heterosexual couple.
The same research also suggests lesbian couples may be happier in the process.
Lesbian couples using in vitro fertilization (IVF) to start a family were found to experience less stress in the first few years of parenthood than straight couples.
The research looked closely at the emotional well-being of each parent, their own levels of satisfaction within the relationship, their mental health and how much parental stress they encountered.
“Lesbian couples using IVF experience less
stress in the first few years of parenthood.”
Overall, fewer signs of stress were seen with lesbian couples, who also were found to have higher levels of romantic happiness in their partnership compared with heterosexual couples.
The couples studied, 316 in all, were approximately of the same ages and were each first-time parents. One hundred and fifty-one heterosexual couples and 165 lesbian couples were regularly surveyed throughout their first three years of parenthood, beginning at the start of their assisted reproduction.
“I have always been interested in questions of sexuality, familial bonds and the psychological aspects of becoming a parent,” Catrin Borneskog, a doctoral student at the Uppsala University Department of Women’s and Children’s Health. “The period from planning to have a child, up to a year after the birth of the child, is especially sensitive. Undergoing assisted reproduction can make this period even more trying.”
“Lesbian couples are, moreover, a relatively new group of patients and parents that we thus far have little knowledge about,” she said.