Navigating Unique Cultural Challenges: Same-Sex Couples in Third-Party Reproduction

Third-party reproduction has emerged as a transformative option for many couples looking to build their families. However, same-sex couples often face distinct cultural standards, expectations, and norms compared to their heterosexual counterparts. This blog explores some of the challenges confronted by same-sex couples during the third-party reproduction process.

Same-sex couples, regardless of gender, may encounter societal norms that challenge conventional beliefs about family structures. Heteronormative expectations surrounding parenting roles and family dynamics can persist, subjecting same-sex couples to scrutiny. Preconceived notions about the idealized nuclear family can create hurdles as these couples navigate societal judgments. Hospital staff and fertility clinic professionals may inadvertently perpetuate assumptions about the “typical” family, potentially affecting the quality of care and emotional support offered to same-sex couples. For instance, healthcare professionals might assume that one partner is the biological parent and the other is not, leading to miscommunications regarding medical histories or treatment plans. Fertility clinics may unintentionally adopt practices or language that cater more to heterosexual couples, making the experience less inclusive for same-sex couples. When you are researching your agencies and clinics, ask what standards they use for their forms and what trainings their staff have completed. Do they adhere to the recommendations of the National LGBT Health Education Center (a program of the Fenway Institute)? Have their staff completed the Open Door trainings by Family Equality?

Legal recognition of parental rights is a critical aspect of third-party reproduction. Same-sex couples may face varied legal landscapes based on their location, complicating the process of securing and protecting their family structure. The legal complexities extend to issues such as second-parent adoption, which can vary significantly between states. In a recent report, it was highlighted that more than half of the United States lack “clear, accessible, and equitable pathways for LGBTQ parents to establish parentage” but noted that Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, Colorado, and Connecticut have recently modernized their parentage laws (Movement Advancement Project, 2023).

Same-sex couples face a unique set of challenges in their pursuit of parenthood through third-party reproduction. By addressing and dismantling stereotypes and judgments within healthcare settings, we can foster an environment that supports and celebrates the diversity of family structures, ensuring that all couples, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, receive the care, respect, and understanding they deserve.


Movement Advancement Project. June 2023. Relationships at Risk: Why We Need to Update State Parentage Laws to Protect Children and Families.

Dr. Diederich and Sweet Springs Consultation and Assessment, can help you navigate through the steps of third-party production, considerations around donating your embryos, egg donor evaluations, sperm donor evaluations, evaluations of gestational carriers, and even questions you may have about how to form a relationship that you want with your donor recipients! Whether you are in Pennsylvania, New York, California or in one of the other 38 other states that Dr. Diederich can practice in virtually, she can help you along your journey.

Donor Conceived, Evaluation, LGBTQ, Mental Health, Psychologist, Third Party Reproduction




Navigating Unique Cultural Challenges: Same-Sex Couples in Third-Party Reproduction