Baby Steps: How Lesbian Alternative Insemination Is Changing the World

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Each year hundreds of children around the world are born to lesbian mothers who conceived through alternative insemination. This unique form of family-making creates families with no legal or psychological father, and challenges some of our most basic assumptions about what it means to be a family. How and why do lesbians use insemination to build their families? How best could it be protected by law? Is it a feminist issue? Is insemination the ultimate in lesbian liberation or a sell-out to nuclear family norms? How are race, class, and human engineering involved? Drawing on legal findings and personal interviews, as well as medical and psychoanalytic research, sociologist Amy Agigian looks at the impact and potential of this form of reproduction.

Baby Steps is the first in-depth discussion of the issues and questions raised by lesbian insemination, and the book has been designed to serve the interests of general readers and health care providers as well as teachers and students in women’s studies, gay and lesbian studies, sociology, legal studies, and bioethics.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
"Patriarchy is a longstanding, durable institution and this book exhilarates any reader-heterosexual or lesbian-who is weary of living under its mantle."
Library Journal
In what appears to be an outgrowth of her doctoral dissertation, Agigian (sociology, Suffolk Univ.) examines the medical, legal, economic, and cultural issues surrounding lesbians' use of alternative insemination (A.I.). Agigian observes the obstacles facing lesbians desiring A.I., including state laws requiring a husband's consent before a woman can be inseminated, lack of insurance coverage for A.I. because lesbians do not fit the definition of infertile, and the absence of legal protections for the nonbiological mother in a lesbian family. She also considers some of the economic issues involved with A.I., including its high cost and the ethical questions surrounding the commodification of procreation. She closes with some suggestions on how society could change to ease the way for lesbian families and to give them an equal footing in society. Agigian includes good notes, an extensive bibliography, and an appendix about her methodology. This significant topic has received little attention, but the writing here is very dense and difficult. Recommended for academic libraries. Debra Moore, Cerritos Coll., Norwalk, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819566300
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

AMY AGIGIAN is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Suffolk University in Boston where she is also a founder and director of the Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights.

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Table of Contents

Setting the Historical Stage
Disfertile Discourses: The Inability of Infertility Medicine to Conceive of Lesbian Mothering
Legal Legitimacy and the Lesbian AI “Bastard”
The Economics of Lesbian Insemination
Transforming the Means of Reproduction: Lesbian AI Kinship and Politics
Conclusions: Toward a Lesbian-Normative Universe and AI Family Futures
Appendix A: Methodology, Sources and Citations
Appendix B: Definitions
Works Cited

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