Date of Graduation

Summer 8-31-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology


School of Nursing and Health Professions




Clinical Psychology (PsyD)

First Advisor

Michelle Montagno, PsyD

Second Advisor

Dhara Meghani, PhD

Third Advisor

David Martinez, PhD


Queer families are deciding to use donor insemination or medically assisted reproductive treatments to become pregnant and start their families. Previous research indicates that the process of using medically assisted reproductive treatments may be a stressful experience for queer families due to cisheteronormativity within the system. In addition, research has also revealed that stress during the process of conceiving can impact mental health experiences during pregnancy. However, there is a lack of research on the specific mental health experiences of pregnancy for queer women. The present study used a qualitative research design guided by constructivist grounded theory to examine the experiences of pregnancy for queer women. Eight pregnant, queer, cisgender women were interviewed regarding their experiences of pregnancy. Initial and focused coding were used to analyze the interviews and resulted in major analytic categories and a substantive theory/conceptual model that reflects the experiences of participants in this study. The study revealed that the challenges and experiences specific to queer women’s process of becoming pregnant impacts their physical and mental health experiences during pregnancy. Results from this study have clinical implications and suggest the need for assessment and interventions that target the specific, unique stressors queer women experience during the process of trying to conceive.