chapter  12
Lesbian partners
ByJoan Raphael-Leff
Pages 5

Lesbian maternity comes under particular scrutiny, especially with egg-exchange. During her pregnancy, the pregnant lesbian will often be assumed to be heterosexual, and her partner is overlooked in a culture where traditionally a child has only one mother. Unlike the male partner of cohabiting heterosexual couples, a lesbian partner has no legal claim over her lover's baby and cannot adopt the child unless the biological mother waives all parental rights. As in all close relationships, the dynamics of attachment/autonomy are also central to lesbian couples. In extremely female-centred male-repudiating atmospheres, even non-sexual insemination can be experienced as political betrayal. Like all expectant mothers, the pregnant lesbian mother may have a sex-preference for a girl or a boy. For the female lover of a pregnant partner, the issue of future bonding is complicated by feelings of alienation, superfluousness and exclusion not unlike those experienced by an expectant husband following his wife's donor-insemination.