With an estimated 1 million to 6 million children being raised by same-sex parents in the United States, it’s clear that the number of alternative households is growing.
While having homosexual parents was once seen as a disadvantage for the children, we have come a long way as a society since then. Because of the growing visibility of same-sex families, many researchers have begun to take a second look at the well-being of their children.
More recent studies show that homosexual parents raise children who are just as successful as opposite-sex couples in every way. In fact, they may even have an advantage over children who are raised by opposite-sex parents — in more ways than one. Research proves that benefits of same sex parenting are numerous, both for the children and parents. To find out more, read on.
Child Well-Being in Same-Sex Parenting
Many people wonder if there are harmful consequences of kids being born into single-sex families. It’s only natural to question whether they’ll face discrimination and stigma, especially since society hasn’t historically been as accepting of gay households. Fortunately, many studies have disproved this theory in recent years.
One study from Cornell University shows that the well-being of children with same-sex parents is no worse than their peers. The findings are based on 75 case studies over three decades. It’s important to note that this study refers to children who were raised by homosexual parents from birth, not those who later gained same-sex parents after a family disruption.
It just goes to show that these children are not at a disadvantage in any way due to the gender or sexual orientation of their parents. Rather, their parents’ competence and security determine their well-being, just like the kids of heterosexual couples.
Another study from the National Library of Medicine proved that the children of homosexual couples are equal to those born to heterosexual parents. The study is based on a decade of extensive research on the families to assess the children’s well-being over time. There is no way to make a broad generalization about homosexual or heterosexual households without takiing a look at their socioeconomic circumstances and family stability.
8 Benefits Of Same Sex Parenting
1. Same-sex parents choose to have kids.
Did you know that a shocking 45 percent of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned? Unintentional pregnancy can be a major problem for cisgender couples who aren’t mentally or financially prepared to have a child. Sadly, this can have adverse effects on both the mother and baby’s mental and physical health. On the other hand, same-sex parenting is a conscious decision — there’s nothing accidental about it. Parents who go to great lengths to have a baby are usually prepared financially and are more motivated to take care of them. Intentional pregnancies ensure the children are wanted and are welcomed into a loving home.
2. Same-sex parents raise children who are not confined by gender stereotypes.
One of the greatest same-sex parenting benefits is that the couple breaks free from traditional gender stereotypes and social constructs. Rather than having one parent who is more “fatherly” and “motherly,” gay and lesbian couples tend to rely on their particular skills when parenting. Since LGBTQIA+ couples focus on their strengths, this is a major reason why they raise great children who are free of gender stereotypes.
3. Children raised by same-sex parents are more resilient.
It’s no secret that children raised by same-sex parents may have to face adversity at one point or another. Due to the nature of their parents’ relationship, they may automatically experience the impact of social stigma within the family.
The truth is, as far as we’ve come as a society, homophobia, and heterosexism still exist. Being able to navigate these issues helps raise more resilient children who can stand strong in the face of adversity. When faced with obstacles, studies show that they’re able to overcome them more easily.
4. Children raised by homosexual parents are more open-minded.
Naturally, children raised by homosexual parents are more accepting of others’ relationships and lifestyle choices. The parents set a positive example of diversity, so there’s no doubt that the kids grow up to be more open-minded and well-rounded than those with traditional families.
5. Children raised by same-sex parents do well academically.
Not only do kids of gay parents do fine in school, they actually outperform their peers. A 2020 study showed that children raised by homosexual parents are more likely to have a high socioeconomic status, resulting in better school outcomes. Although not significantly, they still scored higher than the children raised by heterosexual parents on standardized tests in elementary school.
6. Kids raised by gay parents are more confident.
Studies show that the children of gay and lesbian couples are more confident overall. Researchers suspect that both parents playing an equally active role promotes better self-esteem than those of straight parents. It’s clear that when parents teach kids to accept others and themselves, the children reap the benefits.
7. Same-sex parents are more involved in their children’s educational lives.
A 2008 study showed that same-sex parents make their presence known in their schools and communities. This may be because the parents are more likely to experience stigma and bias from society, so they tend to assert their same-sex visibility. Because of this, many of the parents become more engaged in school functions, committees, and PTA boards. This is an important benefit of same-sex parenting that many people overlook.
When the parents are more involved in their kids’ education, they’re more likely to have higher test scores as we mentioned above. Not only that, but the children are proven to have better attendance and social skills, and demonstrate the ability to adapt to different circumstances more easily than their peers.
8. Kids raised by same-sex families are emotionally healthy.
Many people once believe that children were “better off” with a father and a mother. However, recent findings show that this simply isn’t true. The psychological well-being of children of homosexual parents has proven to be equal to those of kids with heterosexual parents.
In a study performed by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, parents were asked to provide feedback on their children’s emotional and mental health difficulties. They filled out a “strengths and difficulties” questionnaire (SDQ), providing insight into whether they were well-behaved, worried, or unhappy. The children of homosexual parents were proven to be equally as emotionally healthy as those raised by heterosexual couples.
Common Fertility And Adoption Issues For Same-Sex Couples
Thanks to advancements in technology, homosexual couples and even heterosexual couples struggling to conceive, can have children through a variety of different conception methods, as well as adoption.
Fertility treatments are highly advanced these days. However, each comes with its own pros and cons. Some of the most common options for same-sex couples to have a baby include:
1. Third-Party Reproduction
Third-party reproduction is the term for anytime an outside party is needed to provide an egg or sperm. This also refers to a woman who agrees to be a gestational carrier for the parents, without being the intended parent. In every case, there is an outside individual involved, other than someone who plans to raise the child. There are a variety of third-party reproduction options to choose from, such as:
- A known donor that may be a friend or acquaintance
- An anonymous donor that you have no information about
- Semi-open donor with limited information about the donor and limited contact through an intermediate person
- Or an open donor with whom you have information and direct contact with
It's important to understand that there are always some risks and benefits involved with choosing a donor that you know. The procedure could bring you closer together or it could be damaging to the relationship. Plus, there are always legal issues that could arise if the procedure doesn't take place with a lawyer involved. It's always best to make arrangements through a legal clinic or fertility bank.
2. Sperm Donor Insemination
Sperm donor insemination is a great option for lesbian couples hoping to conceive. However, going this route can cost anywhere between several hundred dollars to 4 thousand dollars. It depends on which procedure you decide on and how long it takes you to get pregnant. Intracervical insemination is generally more affordable than intrauterine insemination, but IUI is proven to have a higher chance of success.
Keep in mind that it's common for cisgender couples to take several months to get pregnant - and up to a year isn't unheard of either. The same can be said for sperm donor insemination. The time and money spent depend on the fertility of the carrier. The more fertility procedures you have, the greater the cost.
Remember, sperm donor insemination should always take place at a licensed fertility bank. It may be tempting for families to find a donor on their own, but this comes with medical and legal risks. Sperm donors must go through genetic testing before being eligible to donate. Setting up an arrangement with someone outside of a clinic could automatically put the child at risk of health issues.
3. In Vitro Fertilization
In vitro fertilization (also known as IVF) is another standard option. It works by harvesting eggs from a woman's ovaries, whether she is the parent or a donor. Then, in a lab, the ovaries are put together with sperm from a donor. This option is not cheap, as it generally ranges from $15,000 to $20,000 per cycle.
Many lesbian couples choose reciprocal IVF, which allows one woman to provide the eggs and the other woman to carry the child. This is a great choice for couples who both want to play a role in the biological process. The partner who is younger or more fertile may wish to contribute the eggs, while the other will birth the baby. It's important to note that this form of IVF is more expensive than traditional IVF. Not only will the carrier need to take fertility treatments to prepare, but a sperm donor is needed at an additional cost.
Another option is receiving IVF with an embryo donor. This is a good option for a variety of LGBTQIA+ families, as the embryo can be implanted in the parent or to a gestational carrier. This can cost anywhere between $30,000 to $40,000 per cycle.
Lastly, adoption is a popular option for LGBTQIA+ couples of every kind. Same-sex families are the most sought-after by birth mothers to become adoptive parents. Adoption can be incredibly rewarding, as it allows homosexual couples to fulfill their lifelong dreams of raising a child.
However, adoption can be a long, complicated process where many legal and financial issues pop up. Regardless, it's a deeply fulfilling journey that is well worth it.
Same-sex parents raise the best children
Research has proven -- the children of gay and lesbian parents are doing just fine. Not only are they growing up as well-adjusted as children from opposite-sex couples, but they also reap additional benefits, such as being more confident, well-adjusted, compassionate, and resilient. All of these findings make it clear that same-sex parents do raise the best children.
But in the end, rather than sexual orientation being the determining factor, the most important thing is that the parents provide a loving, supportive, and diverse environment for their kids, which same-sex parents most certainly do.
It's normal for every couple, even same-sex partners, to have hesitations when it comes to having a baby and raising children. This decision should be mutual for both partners in the relationship. If this issue is currently causing stress in your relationship, you can always talk to us about it.