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Experiences of gay men who choose to become parents

Sean Barnett Robins, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This project explored the experiences of ten gay male couples who chose to become parents. Of the twenty fathers who were interviewed, ten fathers (five couples) created a family with children through surrogacy, and ten fathers (five couples) adopted their children. The manuscript begins with a discussion of the historical roles of the father, a review of research on contemporary conceptualizations of fatherhood, and a consideration of the motivation to parent in the context of Erik Erikson's concept of generativity. Discussion then moves to the topic of the surrogacy process as it relates to the choice of gay men to father a child. Following elucidation of the practical and legal aspects of surrogacy, terms are defined which pertain to impregnation, gestation, and birth. The manuscript includes discussion of the ways in which these fathers conceptualize parenthood, including their various roles and responsibilities, and how their conceptualizations influence childcare. Fathers also discuss what motivated them to become parents. Experiences with discrimination associated with being gay are explored, with special consideration of the ways in which such discrimination affects the children and parents in a gay family system. Finally, consideration is given to the relative advantages and disadvantages of surrogacy vs. adoption, with attention to the significance of biological connectedness to a child.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Clinical psychology|Individual & family studies|Gender studies

Recommended Citation

Robins, Sean Barnett, "Experiences of gay men who choose to become parents" (2008). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3325117.