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March 1985

Artificial Insemination in a Lesbian: A Case Analysis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Program in Health Care and Human Values, University of Missouri School of Medicine, Columbia.

Arch Intern Med. 1985;145(3):527-531. doi:10.1001/archinte.1985.00360030175030

Artificial insemination is frequently used to circumvent infertility resulting from a man's physical or psychological inability to impregnate his partner by sexual intercourse.1 When artificial insemination is accomplished using semen from a woman's husband (AIH), few ethical problems are believed to exist. In this instance, AIH is seen merely as a physical technique for overcoming barriers to effective impregnation in the context of marriage. When, for various reasons, semen is used from an unrelated donor (AID), many ethical problems have surfaced. As will be detailed later, these ethical considerations range from fear that AID is analogous to adultery and doubt about the donor's responsibilities to the child to varied beliefs about the nature of parenthood itself. All these issues arose in the case described herein.

However, the case raises special clinical and ethical For editorial comment see p 419. problems. It concerns AID in a lesbian and the handling