Co-parenting arrangements in lesbian and gay families: when the ‘mum and dad’ ideal generates innovative family forms

Date

2017-03-16

Advisors

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

ISSN

2046-7435

Volume Title

Publisher

Policy Press

Type

Article

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

This paper engages with current debates on the potential of contemporary family formations, particularly those created by lesbian women and gay men, to challenge hegemonic family models. Drawing on in-depth interviews with lesbian and gay individuals living in Belgium, it explores parental ideals and family practices amongst people actively choosing ‘co-parenting arrangements’ which include more than two adults raising a child. It examines how this route to parenthood was justified by co-parents’ desire for a biological child, to experience pregnancy, to know the child’s background and most importantly, to provide the child with a mother and a father. These motivations not only aimed at normalising their family situation but reflected deeply anchored family values. The paper demonstrates how innovative and reflexive family forms can arise from conventionally-based assumptions regarding gender roles and kinship, and calls therefore for a more nuanced consideration of individual values and intentions in parenting which potentially destabilise the hegemonic family model.

Description

Health Policy Research Unit This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an article published in Families, Relationships & Societies. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at DOI below.

Keywords

lesbian and gay families, reproductive choice, genetic relatedness, sociology of the family, kinship studies, multi-parenthood, normalisation, gender

Citation

Herbrand, C. (2017) Co-parenting arrangements in lesbian and gay families: when the ‘mum and dad’ ideal generates innovative family forms. Families, Relationships and Societies, 7 (3), pp. 449-466

Rights

Research Institute

Centre for Reproduction Research (CRR)