In a recent study comparing European gay dads (via surrogacy) and heterosexual parents (via old-school conception), it turns out the kids of gay dads are thriving!
The study, published in the journal Family Process, assessed child behaviour problems, parenting styles, co-parenting, task sharing, and relationship satisfaction among these couples.
It found that the children of gay fathers reported fewer issues than those from heterosexual families. It’s not just about being equal; these kids of gay dads, say the researchers, “seem to function better, on average, than the children of heterosexual parents.”
Why the Difference?
The researchers can only speculate. But they point out that having children is relatively easy for most heterosexual couples, and in some cases, children are conceived “by accident.” The surrogacy route, for gay dads, on the other hand, means that their children are always wanted, require planning, and involve a long, complex, expensive journey marked by much effort and sometimes many challenges.
Gay dads are also not slacking! The researchers found that they spend approximately twice as much time with their children relative to fathers in heterosexual couples. They also share childcare tasks more equally than the traditional gender roles found in many same-sex relationships, and are more satisfied with how they share responsibilities.
Now, it’s not all good news. The study noted that gay dad families sometimes face anti-gay microaggressions which can lead to exclusion, anxiety about safety, and distress related to bullying. Discrimination experiences were linked to more child behaviour problems and less support from friends and families.
The researchers urged family therapists working with gay dad families to keep an eye out for the unique challenges they might face. Therapy sessions and support programs can be used to teach these family members some successful ways of coping with these stressors and building more social support.
Consistency Across the Map
And it’s not just a one-country wonder. The positive outcomes for kids of gay dads held true across different European countries. The results are also consistent with other similar research conducted in the United States, Australia, and Israel.
Turns out, worries about how kids raised by gay dads might turn out are just plain wrong. Science says so!
In a nutshell, the study brings fantastic news about the well-being of kids with gay dads via surrogacy. It highlights the need for understanding and support for the unique challenges these families might encounter. Go, rainbow families!