BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Health  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Medical notes
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 2 July, 2002, 11:17 GMT 12:17 UK
Lesbian families 'have happy children'
Woman holds child
The study looked at children brought up by lesbian couples
Children born to lesbian women using donor sperm seem to be as well-adjusted as those brought up by heterosexual couples, research suggests.

Scientists from the Dutch Speaking Free University of Brussels in Belgium quizzed 41 preadolescent children brought up by a lesbian couple.

The average age of the children was ten.

The children were asked about their feelings with regard to the anonymous sperm donor, and their lesbian mothers. Their comments were compared with a control group of children conceived naturally to heterosexual families.

Parents and teachers were also asked about how well-adjusted the children were.

The researchers found that 46% of the children would have liked to know more about the donor, although not necessarily information that would identify them.

Boys, more often than girls, wanted to know the donor’s identity.

Open

Most of the children were open to others about the fact that they had two mothers.

Most did not suffer stigmatisation about their family set-up from their peers.


Most children had informed their friends about their family structure and did not report being teased or bullied

Research report
The children's perceptions of the way that they interacted with their family did not differ significantly with those who were being brought up by heterosexual families.

With the lesbian families, children interacted with both their mothers in similar ways.

The researchers presented their work to the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Vienna.

They said: "Most children had informed their friends about their family structure and did not report being teased or bullied.

"No differences were found between youngsters raised in lesbian families and those raised in heterosexual families with regard to the quality of their interaction with parents and their psychological well-being."

Researcher Dr Katrien Vanfraussen said: "We can conclude, with some caution, that growing up in a lesbian family does not jeopardise children's welfare. They seem to cope rather well."

However, she said that the children's continued happiness would be dependent on society accepting the concept of non-traditional families.

Many lesbian women have used donated sperm - sometimes from a friend - to become pregnant.

Last week saw the launch of the UK's first internet service to match lesbians keen to bear children with suitable donors.

Reports from the 2002 Eshre conference in Vienna

Key stories

Personal stories
See also:

21 Jul 00 | Americas
16 Oct 01 | Business
18 Jan 02 | Science/Nature
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes