Non-biological lesbian mothers’ experiences of accessing healthcare for their children
evidence and practice    

Non-biological lesbian mothers’ experiences of accessing healthcare for their children

Lucille Kelsall-Knight Lecturer in Children’s Nursing, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England
Ceri Sudron Senior Lecturer in Paramedic Science, Faculty of Education Health and Wellbeing, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, England

Why you should read this article
  • To understand the experiences of non-biological lesbian mothers when accessing healthcare for their children

  • To recognise the various forms of discrimination that non-biological lesbian mothers can experience

  • To increase awareness of the language and attitudes encountered by non-biological lesbian mothers in healthcare settings

Background Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) parents may have negative experiences when accessing healthcare for their children as a result of homophobia, transphobia or other forms of prejudice. Patients and their families have reported receiving inappropriate comments from healthcare professionals about sexual orientation, despite policy and government recommendations advising healthcare professionals to provide care that demonstrates respect, dignity and compassion.

Aim The aim of this pilot study was to understand the experience of non-biological lesbian mothers accessing healthcare for their children and the types of attitudes and language they encountered. The pilot was also carried out to determine that the style of questioning allowed differentiation between sexuality and gender.

Method This narrative enquiry pilot study used interviews conducted with three non-biological lesbian mothers aged 36-45 years. Two of the participants were a married couple with adopted children; the other had undergone in vitro fertilisation (IVF) with her partner. Of the three participants, two were the authors of this study. The data were coded using thematic analysis.

Findings The participants’ interviews revealed mixed experiences with healthcare professionals’ attitudes. Four common themes emerged: attitudes and managing healthcare experiences; acknowledgement of sexual orientation; professional standards; and family constellation.

Conclusion The study found that non-biological lesbian mothers experience positive and negative interactions with healthcare professionals but feel disenfranchised because of their non-biological status. A reason for the negative interactions could be a lack of training for healthcare professionals about the challenges that lesbian mothers face when accessing healthcare for their children.

Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2020.e1237

Peer review

This article has been subject to open peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

@LKelsallKnight

Correspondence

L.M.Kelsall-Knight@bham.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Kelsall-Knight L, Sudron C (2020) Non-biological lesbian mothers’ experiences of accessing healthcare for their children. Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2020.e1237

Published online: 27 January 2020