Posted on June 18, 2010
by David Cohen

Two-dad families – a transition to parenthood

With father’s day approaching, I have decide to share this story with you. The Rockway Institute conducted the first study ever to examine the experiences of gay male partners who became fathers via surrogacy. What they found will not come as a surprise to most of us. The study shows that gay parents are more likely than heterosexual fathers to scale back their careers in order to care for their children.  But the surprising part is, these fathers report that their self-esteem and their closeness to their extended families increases after becoming parents.

“Our findings reinforce the growing research evidence that the sexual orientation of the parents makes little difference in parenting.  Gay couples are making major accommodations in their lives just like their heterosexual counterparts who become parents,” said Robert-Jay Green, PhD., Executive Director of the Rockway Institute.

One of the notable findings was that having a child significantly improved the gay fathers’ self esteem. Nearly all (95 percent) said having a child “makes me feel good about myself” and that their self- esteem had improved after becoming a parent. The new fathers took less care of themselves by sleeping and exercising less and devoting less time to hobbies, leisure activities and involvement in personal causes. Although their reported spirituality had not changed significantly, more of the new parents (an increase from 25 to 38 percent) reported they were attending religious services since adding a child to their family.

The researchers learn that the new fathers “felt extremely positive and proud about being parents… The narratives of the gay fathers in this study underscore how being a parent contributed to greater meaning in their lives… They derived pleasure and pride in taking care of their children, while they also received increasing validation from their families and their communities.”

To learn more about the institute philosophy and how it promote scientific and professional expertise to counter antigay prejudice and improve public policies affecting the LGBT community, visit