or the quality of mother-child interaction between lesbian mother families and two groups of heterosexual families studied by Brewaeys et al. (1997). These researchers also reported that the quality of the interaction between the social (i.e., non-birth) mother and the child in lesbian families was superior to that between the father and the child in the two groups of heterosexual families studied.

Lesbians and other unmarried women are still sometimes refused donor insemination services.7 One argument made against providing this service is the assertion that growing up in a lesbian household will lead to psychological difficulties for the child (Brewaeys et al., 1995; Englert, 1994; Golombok and Tasker, 1994). Research has not supported this assertion. For example, no differences in emotional and behavioral adjustment are reported for 4- to 8-year-old boys and girls (n = 30) conceived by donor insemination and raised in lesbian mother families, those (n = 38) also conceived by donor insemination but raised in heterosexual families, and those (n = 30) conceived conventionally and raised in a conventional heterosexual family (Brewaeys et al., 1997). Many of these studies have used small sample sizes and hence have low power to detect small differences between groups. Nonetheless, the evidence to date is consistent.

Framework 3: A Look at Specific Health Concerns for Lesbians

Lesbians may be at higher or lower risk of certain health problems relative to heterosexual women or women in general. These include cancer, hypertension, mental health concerns, sexually transmitted disease, HIV, and substance abuse. The data in these areas relating to lesbians are very limited. It must be further noted that there are few empirical studies of lesbian health that focus exclusively on racial and ethnic minority lesbians or that include a sizable proportion of these lesbians in their samples. Rather, most studies of lesbians have been based on samples that are primarily or exclusively white. Research that has focused on racial and

7  

Some lesbians use semen from known or unknown donors in the community. The use of semen from untested donors presents a possible risk of HIV infection (White, 1997).



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