The study explores the reproductive decision-making of eight self-identified lesbian women in same-gendered relationships as it is interested in the ways in which they construct their reproductive decisions, particularly as it relates to their gender. Four open-ended, semi-structured, joint interviews were conducted with couples who have already made the decision to parent, thereby offering retrospective accounts. Interview transcriptions were analysed by employing thematic analysis underpinned by principles of Foucauldian discourse analysis and rooted in a feminist poststructuralist theory. Three discursive themes are identified in participants' accounts namely: 1) the discourse of heterosexual gender roles; 2) the discourse of heteronormative parenting; and 3) the counter-discourse of parental responsibility and the responsible parent. In a context where lesbian mothers' reproductive decisions are often called into question and where lesbian mothers' parental roles are constructed according to gender binaries, the study concludes that in exercising their limited agency within restrictive heteronormative discourse, participants made their reproductive decisions based on their ability to care for a child in terms of pragmatic factors, their capacity to meet the child's emotional needs and to protect them from potential "othering" by segments of the society. The findings of this study carry implications for addressing the marginalisation and stigmatisation of lesbian women who wish to become parents and raise their children without having to justify their decisions purely because of their sexual identity.
Mini Dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2017.