Deciding to parent or remain childfree: Comparing sexual minority and heterosexual childless adults from Israel, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.

Geva Shenkman, Jorge Gato, Fiona Tasker, Chen Erez, Daniela Leal

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21 Scopus citations


This study compared Israeli, Portuguese, and British childless lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGB) and heterosexual adults on parenthood aspirations as indicated by their desire and intent to become a parent and their concern about childlessness. For this purpose, 168 childless adults (57 self-reported as LGB) in Portugal were matched on sociodemographic variables with 168 participants from the United Kingdom and 168 participants from Israel, resulting in a sample of n = 504 (Mage = 28.26, SD = 6.17). Participants were recruited through convenience sampling and completed online questionnaires assessing parenthood desire, intent, and concern about childlessness. Results indicated that participants from Israel and Portugal reported higher levels of parenthood desire, intent, and concern about childlessness than participants from the United Kingdom. Parallel patterns also appeared separately for LGB and heterosexual participants between the countries. Heterosexual participants from Israel scored higher than counterparts from Portugal on parenthood intention and concern about childlessness. In addition, LGB participants in general reported lower levels of parenthood desire, intentions, and concern about childlessness than did heterosexual participants. The findings are interpreted in light of the different sociocultural contexts of the countries, that is, the individualistic values characterizing the U.K. versus the familistic values characterizing the Israeli and Portuguese contexts, alongside a strongly pronatalist stance evident in Israel and economic context in Portugal. The study contributes to the scant comparative literature on parenthood aspirations among LGB individuals as a function of cultural context by providing a multicontextual viewpoint on parenthood aspirations, sexual orientation, and diverse sociocultural contexts. Implications for clinicians are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)844-850
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Psychological Association


  • concern about childlessness
  • cross-cultural comparisons
  • parenthood aspirations
  • parenthood desire
  • parenthood intent


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