Gay Parenting and Assisted Reproductive Techniques:
A Symbolic Interactionist Perspective
Gay rights have become a prevalent issue within the last decade. In the United States, gay marriage has been legalized in five states. With this has come a flurry of accompanying issues that must be addressed, this includes gay and lesbian fertility rights. Many gay and lesbian couples undergo assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs) in order to have children. In the United States, fertility clinics are privatized, this means, among other things, that doctors have the right to pick and choose whom they take on as patients. There is no guarantee for gay couples seeking ...view middle of the document...
There are many cases where families become pregnant through alternative insemination, fostering or adoption, where the parents are not always biologically related to the children. Many gay and lesbian couples undergo assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs) in order to have children.
As more and more gay couples look to reproduce, the debate over whether or not doctors should be allowed to refuse treatment based on personal prejudices continues. These kinds of restrictions violate the reproductive rights of gays and lesbians. Often gay and lesbian couples will undergo ARTs in order to conceive. This is often achieved by means of surrogacy, egg donation, artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization (Robertson 2005). At this time, the United States Supreme Court, nor any other lower form of court, has tended to the issue of the existence of basic rights when using or attempting to use assisted reproduction technologies (Robertson 2005). In Canada, the Assisted Human Reproductive Act was put in place in order to help people reproduce safely and to ensure that reproductive technology continues to be ethically valid (CBC News 2009). According to a report on CBC News (2009), the legislation came to light after the Royal Commission on Reproductive Technologies took place in 1993. Were policy put into affect in the United States similar to Canada’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act, discrimination against patients based on sexual orientation would be considered a criminal offence. Furthermore, imposing a policy like the Assisted Human Rights Act would help advance the fight for equal gay and lesbian rights.
Focus: Theory of Symbolic Interactionism
The central theme of symbolic interactionism is that human life is lived through symbols. Symbols are culturally derived social objects having shared meanings that are created and maintained in social interaction (Karp, Yoels, & Vann, 2004). Through language and communication, symbols provide the means by which reality is constructed (Karp, Yoels, & Vann, 2004). Reality is primarily a social product, which emerges from and is dependent on symbolic interactions for its existence. Individuals learn the appropriate values and norms of the social group through the process of socialization. They learn ideals and expectations that they are expected to follow such as family loyalty, solidarity, as well as age and gender differentiation. Symbolic interaction reveals how everyday experiences help construct and maintain society (Karp, Yoels, & Vann, 2004, p. 8). Being taught ideals and expectations help children construct their knowledge of their culture and society, as well as the norms that are expected from my society in order for my behavior to be acceptable in the public and private. Traditionally and ideally, children grow up in the presence of several adults, a mother and a father and siblings. Thus, notions of gender roles in the family not only are socially...