Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Finding Fertility: Lesbians Looking to Become Parents Are More Likely Now Than Ever to Face Religious Objections from Their Doctors

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Finding Fertility: Lesbians Looking to Become Parents Are More Likely Now Than Ever to Face Religious Objections from Their Doctors

Article excerpt

When Guadalupe Benitez had trouble getting pregnant, she and her partner, Joanne Clark, did what thousands of American women do every year: They sought help from a fertility clinic. In 1999 they went to the only clinic covered by Benitez's health plan, the San Diego--based North Coast Women's Care Medical Group. The clinic refused to help them.

Christine Brody told Benitez during her first visit that, as a Christian, she disapproves of homosexuality and of lesbian and gay couples having children, so she would not perform the insemination. When Benitez persisted, she was told that no one on staff was willing to perform the procedure and that she should go elsewhere. Benitez sued in 2001, and her case is still pending.

The Benitez case opened a window to what has since become a high-profile issue as a growing number of prospective lesbian parents seek fertility services. According to recent reports, lesbians are routinely deified services from clinics nationwide that either explicitly refuse to serve them or, more subtly, serve only women who are married--to men. Indeed, one fertility clinic in five will turn away any unmarried woman seeking help, says a study published in January by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Sherron Mills, the director of Pacific Reproductive Services, a lesbian-run fertility center and sperm bank in San Francisco, says her clinic treats women from all over the United States who cannot find clinics or even lesbian-friendly physicians in their home states. …

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