Art by Mojuicy

Stigma Around ‘Non-Traditional’ Families Won’t End with Assisted Reproductive Technology

May 5, 2015

A new study from Cambridge University and the Weizmann Institute of Science predicts the use of skin cells and stem cells to create biological children for same-sex couples, single parents, and heterosexual couples with difficulty conceiving within two years. As a queer full-spectrum doula of color considering mamahood in the near future, I want as many parenting options as possible. But I wonder if this assisted reproductive technology will be truly accessible to me and my community, and if it reinforces a nuclear family ideal that further stigmatizes our choices.

Queer and trans folks have been making babies for a long time, and it’s rarely ever easy. Even when we create biological children, we have to fight to be recognized as their parents. Last year, a Texas same-sex couple fought for custody of their two biological newborns. (They used a surrogate, so they are each the father of one of the two boys.) The parents’ names weren’t even allowed on the birth certificates of their respective biological child. Without addressing the legalized discrimination against our families, the new technology won’t be enough to shield our reproductive choices from attack. Respectability through biological reproduction (and government-sanctioned marriage, might I add) will not save us.

“There’s a lot of weight that’s put on biology and often that’s too much,” said student-midwife Courtney Hooks, who has helped several queer and trans families give birth in Oakland, California.


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