Gay Men Choosing to Co-Parent with Heterosexual Women

Pauline I. Erera, Dorit Segal-Engelchin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Little is known about openly gay men who elect to conceive and raise children jointly with a heterosexual woman outside of marriage. Drawing on in-depth interviews with nine Israeli gay fathers who are co-parenting with a heterosexual woman, this study examines the factors associated with their unique family choice and the characteristics these men sought in selecting the mother. The findings revealed three key motivations for establishing a hetero-gay family: belief in the essential mother, belief in biological parenting, and the belief that the child's best interests dictate having two parents of the opposite sex. These beliefs, along with seeking co-parents with maternal attributes, reflect traditional attitudes and a wish to reproduce the traditional family. At the same time, however, these men all planned on being "new," actively involved fathers who shoulder child-rearing responsibilities. Possible implications of holding concurrently traditional and progressive attitudes are discussed. © 2014

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-474
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of GLBT Family Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • co-parenting
  • fathering
  • gay fathers
  • gender relations
  • hetero-gay families
  • queer theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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