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Health/Reproduction Psychology

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Health/Reproduction Psychology

Discussion of the Findings

Introduction

Based on the findings of the study, there are differences in terms of attitudes towards ARTs, genetic parenthood and biological conception between homosexuals, heterosexuals, and bisexuals. Precisely, the heterosexuals desire to be parents and preferably genetic parenthood as compared to homosexual and bisexual. Therefore, they are eager to use ARTs at the time of infertility. Furthermore, they yearn for biological conception because it helps to advance their ancestry. The chapter will discuss the attitudes towards use of ARTs, biological conception and genetic parenthood among homosexuals, heterosexuals, and bisexuals.

Attitude towards Parenthood

The prominence of parenthood has vast cultural, societal and historical values. Traditionally, ties between children and parents have increased the need for marital relationship. Sexuality of an individual has a significant effect on the type of attitudes towards parenthood. Precisely, sexuality such as non-heterosexuality and bisexuality influence parenthood in a number of ways (Patterson, 2002). For instance, they can lead to the inability to establish families since the homosexuality would contribute to poor conditions for children bearing. Similarly, the sexuality tends to affect the parental guidance since homosexuals are less likely to provide appropriate and sufficient guidance to the children hence imparting negative effects among the partners. In general, the findings of this study discovered that sexuality groups that support parenthood or those against it have different attitudes depending on one’s sexual behaviours. For this reason, the scenario leads to divergent upbringing and relation to the family and parental guidance (Goldberg & Smith, 2011).

The study support results of previous pieces of research, which were conducted in other parts of the world. For instance, a survey by Moura‐Ramos et al., (2016) suggested that sexuality affects the attitudes towards parenting. The study emphasized that most of the homosexual couples have negative perspectives towards parenting. It also highlighted that the majority of the respondent were against the gay parenting because the emotional and social development of the kids could be at increased risk (Moura‐Ramos et al., 2016). However, the results differed from this study because it was focusing on attitudes of the study respondents towards ARTs. Moreover, others are opposed homosexual parenting due to effects of sexual stigma. However, the survey did not demonstrate that kids under the care of gay couples experience higher risk levels as compared to children under heterosexual couples. Most of the same-sex couples experience discrimination from social workers leading to a negative attitude towards parenting (Tornello et al., 2011).

On the other hand, most of the heterosexuals support genetic parenting based on the idea that it would be of benefit to a child. Heterosexual prefer genetic parenthood because it guarantees blood ties (Moura‐Ramos et al., 2011). The significance of genetic parenthood has been weakened and strengthened by changes in the society such as the decrease in the value of marriage and new inventions on fertility treatment, which encourages genetic parenthood. For instance, Goldberg & Smith, (2011) noted that heterosexuals support parenting because they believe that it would offer the child protection against sexual abuse and it instils gender identity (Goldberg & Smith, 2011).

Attitude towards assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs)

Based on the study findings, there is no statistically significant difference in the attitude of heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexuals on the use of ARTs. Among the heterosexual, infertility is a major factor which forces the couples towards the acceptance of ARTs because it affects their quality of life, identity, personality, health, work and life (Wennberg et al., 2016). More importantly, lack of children in this type of family has adverse impacts on marital satisfaction and self-esteem. The heterosexual couples who suffer from infertility are more inclined to using ARTs as compared to other couples because it creates a crucial chance to become parents.

The results of this survey are similar to findings by Daniluk & Koert, (2012) which indicated that social factors influence the heterosexual couples who have a problem of infertility when are making a decision on the use of ART (Daniluk & Koert, 2012). In this respect, the necessity to show love and be loved, protection of well-being and happiness are the key reasons for desiring children hence positive attitudes towards ART. On the other hand, some forms of couples such as homosexual and bisexual who desire to have children have a higher approval rate or the idea of ART (Sabarre et al., 2013). The findings are consistent with Dempsey & Critchley, (2010) study that pointed to the fact that bisexual women and lesbians utilize the ARTs procedures especially in vitro fertilization (IVF) to accomplish their goals (Dempsey & Critchley, 2010).

Attitude towards Genetic Parenthood

Genetic parenthood is a pertinent idea, which is influenced by sexuality factors in the society. Genetic parenthood produces an exceptional commitment towards meeting the parental responsibility and commitment of the child. Scholars have argued that commitment and love are beneficial to the growth and development of the child (Mertes & Pennings, 2008). Furthermore, the child would also acquire the advantages of understanding his or her lineage and origins, which is an essential element in pursuing a person’s feeling of self as he/she mature up. Extensive knowledge of the family that the child has their genetic makeup generates similar emotions of commitment and love. Genetic parenthood emerges from bearing, conceiving and children breast-feeding which appear to promote a unique and special association between a child and mother.

Genetic parenthood is revered in heterosexual relations because it is a source of the psychological and social relationship between the father and mother.  It develops via continuous daily mutuality, interplay, companionship, and interaction, which satisfies the parent’s psychological needs. Its importance is founded in its ability to provide for the needs of the child particularly via loving, comforting, nurturing, and feeding as well as by protecting, educating, socialising, and guiding (Lingiardi & Carone, 2016). The findings of the survey stressed that there is a statistical difference of the total score of genetic importance among the sexuality groups. In particular, the heterosexual had higher scores on the genetic importance of parenthood as opposed to homosexuals and bisexuals. Nonetheless, there was no significance pairwise difference between bisexuals and homosexuals on the genetic significance of parenthood.

The findings of this study are consistent with Hendriks et al., (2017) research which noted that heterosexual families a lot of emphasis on the need for genetic ties. Additionally, the survey highlighted that genetic makeup of the child affects how adults decide to parent their kids. Therefore, the genetic make-up of the child can significantly determine the child-to-parent interaction. Therefore, they prefer genetic over non-genetic parenting. However, the study indicated the differences that exist across the world in terms of choice of genetic parenthood. For instance, 78 percent and 35 percent of population in Canada and Sweden preferred genetic parenthood. The heterosexuals only choose to use adoption when all other attempts to using ARTs or natural procedures have failed. However, the homosexuals and bisexual tend to prefer non-genetic parenthood due to issues such as donor’s conception (Hendriks et al., 2017).

The results are similar to Blake et al., (2017) which indicated that gay fathers are inspired to use adoption instead of surrogacy in their quest to parenthood. In most cases, the homosexual parents were willing to use non-genetic parenting such as adoption because they were concerned of the moral questions and issues that emerge in surrogacy especially surrogate’s payment. In addition, they are determined to evade inequality in genetic connection to the child since one individual in surrogacy relationship is genetically linked to the child while the other is not (Blake et al., 2017). After gay couples make a decision on surrogacy as a way to parenthood they experience tough choices as to which man (father) will become genetically connected to the kid. Genetic parenthood among bisexuals and homosexual is least preferred because it is challenging owing to the emotional and logistical problems it can involve. Therefore, they believed that this form of parenthood is inaccessible because of its huge costs (Shapiro, 2005). However, the survey demonstrated that lesbian couples are would prefer genetic parenthood as some would want to experience pregnancy.

Biological Conception Importance

Biological conception is considered essential in the society because it propagates the identity and ancestry of the family. It also believed to advance the interaction or connection with the biological relatives. It also assists the child to achieve self-identity. Moreover, it is also useful for understanding the natural relationship (Haslanger, 2009). For instance, it offers a unique type of self-knowledge depending on distinguishable and intuitive resemblances. It is also a foundation of a narrative where parents’ actions possess the purpose and meaning. Importantly, awareness of people who are similar because of their biological connection is important for establishing complete selfhood (Hertz et al., 2013).

On the contrary, lack of biological conception leads to adoptees that lack special association with their parents or families hence it is difficult to entertain the concept that interaction with such parents is good for a better life (Royal et al., 2010). According to the study’s findings, there is statistically significant effect of sexuality on the biological conception importance score. Moreover, the survey stressed that the heterosexuals score highly than homosexuals but does not differ from the bisexual on the importance of biological conception. In addition, there is no difference between homosexuals and bisexuals on the importance of biological conception.

It is evident that many heterosexual couples put more emphasis on the need for biological conception as compared to bisexuals and homosexuals. Others studies conducted on the importance of biological conception among difference sexualities discovered that heterosexuals because understanding an individual’s biological parents produce self-knowledge that has irreplaceable and significant value in terms of self-identity establishment (Ravelingien et al., 2015). In this respect, biological ties are one of the most crucial elements of the family’s foundation. For this reason, it assists in parenthood in the heterosexual relationship. Similarly, in bisexual relationships, a biological offspring is critical especially among partners who are attracted to different gender (Konner, 2010). The same-sex couples have little preference for biological conception because they do not want to propagate the biological or genetic ties and identity in their children (Dolgin, 2008).

Limitations

The key limitations of the study were that the researcher lacked knowledge of people with information about the entire process of concepts such as ARTs and infertility. The study did not determine the actual practices of people towards assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), but assessed their attitudes. Moreover, the limitation of the study was manifested due to high non-response rate among the participants.

Problems

Some of the problems encountered in the process of data collection involved failure by study participants to provide required information. Most of them were unwilling to respond to the questions related to their sexuality. They also failed to explain whether they were aware of various issues affecting their choices towards ARTs.

Future Implications

The findings of the study imply that the policy makers should initiate strategies, which meet the needs of the different factions. For instance, since heterosexuality have different needs from other groups such as bisexuals and homosexuals, efforts should be raised to sustain their specific wishes. Genetic parenting is largely popular concept among heterosexuals as opposed to homosexuals; hence, ART must be designed to accomplish the intended purpose. Finally, future research should focus on the practices towards use of ARTs and factors influencing towards their application.

References

Blake, L., Carone, N., Raffanello, E., Slutsky, J., Ehrhardt, A. A., & Golombok, S. (2017). Gay fathers’ motivations for and feelings about surrogacy as a path to parenthood. Human Reproduction32(4), 860-867.

Daniluk, J. C., & Koert, E. (2012). Childless Canadian men’s and women’s childbearing intentions, attitudes towards and willingness to use assisted human reproduction. Human Reproduction27(8), 2405-2412.

Dempsey, D., & Critchley, C. (2010). Comfort with use of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) for family formation by same-sex and heterosexual couples: A survey of Australian social attitudes. Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review6(2), 90.

Dolgin, J. L. (2008). Biological evaluations: blood, genes, and family. Akron L. Rev.41, 347.

Goldberg, A. E., & Smith, J. Z. (2011). Stigma, social context, and mental health: lesbian and gay couples across the transition to adoptive parenthood. Journal of Counseling Psychology58(1), 139.

Haslanger, S. (2009). Family, ancestry and self: What is the moral significance of biological ties.

Hendriks, S., Peeraer, K., Bos, H., Repping, S., & Dancet, E. A. F. (2017). The importance of genetic parenthood for infertile men and women. Human Reproduction32(10), 2076-2087.

Hertz, R., Nelson, M. K., & Kramer, W. (2013). Donor conceived offspring conceive of the donor: The relevance of age, awareness, and family form. Social Science & Medicine86, 52-65.

Konner, M. (2010). The evolution of childhood: Relationships, emotion, mind. Harvard University Press.

Lingiardi, V., & Carone, N. (2016). Lesbian mothers, gay fathers: an inconceivable conception?. Giornale italiano di psicologia43(1-2), 57-80.

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Moura‐Ramos, M., Gameiro, S., Canavarro, M. C., Soares, I., & Almeida‐Santos, T. (2016). Does infertility history affect the emotional adjustment of couples undergoing assisted reproduction? The mediating role of the importance of parenthood. British journal of health psychology21(2), 302-317.

Patterson, C. J. (2002). Lesbian and gay parenthood. Handbook of parenting3, 317-338.

Ravelingien, A., Provoost, V., & Pennings, G. (2015). Open-identity sperm donation: how does offering donor-identifying information relate to donor-conceived offspring’s wishes and needs?. Journal of bioethical inquiry12(3), 503-509.

Royal, C. D., Novembre, J., Fullerton, S. M., Goldstein, D. B., Long, J. C., Bamshad, M. J., & Clark, A. G. (2010). Inferring genetic ancestry: opportunities, challenges, and implications. The American Journal of Human Genetics86(5), 661-673.

Sabarre, K. A., Khan, Z., Whitten, A. N., Remes, O., & Phillips, K. P. (2013). A qualitative study of Ottawa university students’ awareness, knowledge and perceptions of infertility, infertility risk factors and assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Reproductive health10(1), 41.

Shapiro, J. (2005). A lesbian centered critique of genetic parenthood. J. Gender Race & Just.9, 591.

Tornello, S. L., Farr, R. H., & Patterson, C. J. (2011). Predictors of parenting stress among gay adoptive fathers in the United States. Journal of Family Psychology25(4), 591.

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