Childbearing at the margins: A systematic metasynthesis of sexual and gender diverse childbearing experiences

Kodiak Ray Sung Soled, Paulomi Mimi Niles, Elise Mantell, Mars Dansky, Walter Bockting, Maureen George

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: The reproductive and perinatal health of sexual and gender-diverse (SGD) individuals is a research priority area for the National Institutes of Health. Over the past decade, this childbearing population has been the focus of several qualitative studies providing the opportunity to evaluate and synthesize the qualitative literature on SGD childbearing experiences in a metasynthesis. Methods: We conducted a literature search of four databases to identify original research published from January 2011 through June 2021. These results were augmented by forward and backward searching strategies. Two authors independently screened studies. All qualitative studies of the childbearing experience were eligible. Data were extracted and inductively coded using conventional content analysis, and studies underwent a quality appraisal by two authors. Results: From 2396 articles, 127 full-text articles were screened, and 25 were included in this synthesis. Three overarching themes were identified: (a) Systematic Invisibility; (b) Creating Personhood Through Parenthood; and (c) Resilient Narratives of Childbearing. Conclusions: Relative to heterosexual and cisgender parents, SGD childbearing parents experience unique structural and interpersonal challenges and employ critically important resilience strategies and coping techniques to manage an overwhelming heterocisnormative experience. These findings provide an important target for health care organizations and professionals to improve SGD perinatal health. In addition, this metasynthesis identified persistent gaps in our understanding of this marginalized childbearing population, which have important implications for reducing health disparities that SGD parents experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-75
Number of pages32
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • health disparities
  • perinatal
  • qualitative
  • review
  • sexual and gender minority

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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