New study seeks to expand our understanding of LGBTQA+ parents

Much of the research into the formation of families, in particular the ways people decide to create their families, has often neglected the LGBTQA+ experience, says Dr. Samantha Tornello, an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Pennsylvania State University-Altoona. The majority of research that does exist focuses on the experiences of prospective gay or lesbian parents. Very little research on this topic explores the experiences of bisexual or trans* prospective parents or compares the experiences of single and coupled prospective parents.

Dr. Tornello (principle investigator) and her research team on the Intended Parent Study aim to close the knowledge gap about the ways LGBTQA+ people think about and want to create their future families. “It is important to understand the diversity of how these families are formed,” Dr. Tornello said, “in order to design the next stage of studies which will explore the dynamics of these families and their children’s development.”

Dr.Tornello’s study aims to shed light on “how LGBTQA+ people think about parenthood, the factors important in these decisions, and how these experiences impact them. LGBTQA+ people often need to be creative in creating their families and how they make these decisions are important to understanding LGBTQA+ people and their families.” Given the challenges this community faces, having a better understanding of how these decisions are made has real practical impact.

“I hope this study can help educate reproductive health, medical, adoption and other family oriented providers about LGBTQA+ family planning needs and how to provide LGBTQA+ culturally sensitive services” Dr.Tornello explained. “I also hope this study can inform LGBTQA+ people that parenthood is an option for them if they want to become parents in the future. Lastly, I strive for my work to help inform social policy and laws surrounding LGBTQA+ people and their families.”

The Intended Parent Study consists of an online survey and takes approximately twenty to thirty-five minutes to complete. Dr. Tornello is currently recruiting participants for her study: To qualify for the study you have to be over the age of eighteen, not have any children currently, and want to become a parent in the future.

If you and/or your partner are interested in participating or want further information, you may contact Dr. Samantha Tornello by email at More information about the study can be found at





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