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Pregnancy Loss From the Perspective of Lesbian and Bisexual Moms

By January 3, 2010

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Pregnancy resources often assume that parents going into a pregnancy are by default a male and female partner. But with the availability of assisted reproduction, it's less uncommon that parents entering a pregnancy could be a same-sex female couple or a single mother choosing to pursue a pregnancy without a partner. So I was interested to see an alert about a new study published in Human Reproduction focusing on the experience of pregnancy loss for lesbian and bisexual mothers.

In the study, researchers interviewed 60 non-heterosexual women who had experienced a pregnancy loss. For the most part, the women reported that healthcare practitioners had been supportive during the miscarriage and rated their experiences with healthcare practitioners as good to outstanding, though a minority had experienced prejudice. The researchers also interviewed the women about how they had conceived and found that the majority had used donor sperm and had put considerable effort into planning their pregnancies, as well as financial investment, and that this fact might amplify some of the feeling of loss. The conclusion was that healthcare providers should be aware of these factors when dealing with same-sex couples experiencing pregnancy loss, and that the unique circumstances of these couples should be given wider visibility in pregnancy loss research and support resources. Certainly a worthy goal.

There was also an interesting point made in this study that women are often caught off-guard by "missed miscarriage" diagnoses that occur after early ultrasounds, and they suggested that women should be given preparatory materials with information about the fact that ultrasound could reveal an asymptomatic miscarriage. I that is an excellent recommendation that applies to all women receiving early ultrasound, as I think many aren't aware that miscarriages don't always have advance symptoms, and I hope that idea gets wider coverage.

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