Research: National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study

“Since the 1980s, the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS) has been following and reporting on a cohort of planned lesbian families with children conceived through donor insemination. Initiated by Nanette Gartrell, MD, the NLLFS examines the social, psychological, and emotional development of the children as well as the dynamics of planned lesbian families. This is the longest-running and largest prospective investigation of lesbian mothers and their children in the United States. For more than a quarter century, this study has been providing information to specialists in healthcare, family services, adoption, foster care, sociology, feminist studies, education, ethics, same-sex marriage, civil union, and public policy on matters pertaining to LGBT families.”

The study has followed 154 lesbian mothers and recently checked in on 78 adolescent children, comparing the mothers’ and kids’ self-reported status against national standardized samples.

Latest research shows:

  • The lesbian mothers’ reports of their children “indicated that they had high levels of social, school/academic, and total competence and fewer social problems, rule-breaking, and aggressive and externalizing behavior compared with their age-matched counterparts.”
  • What the kids say: “The self-reported quality of life of the adolescents in this sample was similar to that reported by a comparable sample of adolescents with heterosexual parents.”