A new study by Italian scientists says that the psychological adjustment in children of same-sex parents is the same for kids of heterosexual parents.
Professor Roberto Baiocco, PhD, and several of his colleagues from Sapienza University of Rome have conducted a survey to see the difference in how children grow up depending on whether their parents are gay men, lesbian women, or a straight couple.
The Study, titled With Same-Sex or Different-Sex Parents, Child Outcomes Linked to Family Functioning, was published by Wolters Kluwer and appears in the Journal of Development & Behavioral Pediatrics.
The study included 70 gay fathers who had children through surrogacy, 125 lesbian mothers who had children through donor insemination, and 195 heterosexual couples who had children through spontaneous conception. In addition, the children were between the ages of 3 to 11 years old.
After obtaining the participants, the scientists split them up into three groups which were categorized by “child characteristics.”
From there, parents were asked a series of questions based on their ability to act successfully as a parent (self-agency), extent of agreement/adjustment between parents, family functioning, and the child's psychological adjustment which the scientists defined as their “strengths and difficulties.”
The results of the study found that there was no major differences between the psychological adjustment of children in any of the groups of families, and scores were in the normal range for all.
In fact, the study found that children of same-sex parents had slightly fewer reported difficulties than children of heterosexual parents.
Plus, gay fathers especially showed some better indicators of family functioning than lesbian and straight couples. Professor Baiocco suggests that this may be because of the high level of commitment needed for gay men to become parents via surrogacy. He also noted that the gay fathers were older, economically better off, better educated, and had more stable relationships than the other two groups.
Lastly, Professor Baiocco and coauthors wanted to express that these results have special significance in Italy where same-sex couples cannot legally access assisted reproduction techniques.
"The present study warns policy-makers against making assumptions on the basis of sexual orientation about people who are more suited than others to be parents or about people who should or should not be denied access to fertility treatments."