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Rise in LGBT parents expected in US, says survey

Patrick Kelleher February 11, 2019
Gay dads make great parents says study

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty

A new survey has found that more LGBT+ young people than ever before are planning on having children in the US.

The LGBTQ Family Building Survey asked 500 adults who identify as LGBTQ if they had plans to start or expand their families. They also surveyed over 1,000 adults who do not identify as LGBT+.

The survey found that 77 percent of LGBT+ millennials are already parents, or are considering having children – which marks a 44 percent increase over older generations.

Meanwhile, 63 percent are considering expanding their families, and 48 percent are actively planning to grow their families in the future.

Increase in LGBT+ people having children

48 percent of LGBT+ millennials planning to grow their families is compared to 55 percent of non-LGBT+ millennials – indicating that the gap is narrowing, and going forward, LGBT+ Americans will be more likely to have children of their own.

63 percent of young LGBT+ people said they were looking at fostering, adoption and assisted reproductive technology.

Of the respondents aged 55 and over, just 33 percent already have children or are planning to have children. This is in line with 2013 Pew Research Center’s findings, which suggest that 35 percent of LGBT+ people are parents.

“While family building via intercourse remains an option for some in the LGBTQ community […] it is far more common for those in LGBTQ relationships not to have the components needed for biological conception.”

– LGBTQ Family Building Survey

The full report suggests that marriage equality may have made the idea of family building seem more attainable to LGBT+ people.

It may also be influenced by the fact that people are coming out to their families and friends at a younger age than they once did. 2010 research from Stonewall found that those in their 60s who were surveyed had an average coming out age of 37.

Rise in LGBT parents expected in US, says survey
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The report notes that biological conception is “far more complex and challenging” for LGBT+ people than non-LGBT+ people.

“While family building via intercourse remains an option for some in the LGBTQ community, particularly bisexual people in different-sex relationships and couples where one or more partner identifies as transgender, it is far more common for those in LGBTQ relationships not to have the components needed for biological conception,” the report says.

However, the report goes on to note that LGBT+ couples who can not conceive via intercourse now have “an abundance of options” available to them, including fostering, adoption and assisted reproductive technology.

The report recommends that reproductive endocrinologists, obstetricians, neonatal social workers and family law practitioners prepare themselves and their organisations for a change in the number of LGBT+ families.

Studies into same-sex parenting

The survey comes shortly after a new study from the University of Montreal found that gay dads make great parents.

Éric Feugé observed 46 families, including 92 gay fathers and 46 children aged between one and nine, over the course of seven years for his doctoral thesis.

Feugé told the Montreal Gazette that he wanted to study the engagement of gay fathers and see how they distribute parental work in their households.

He found that gay parents are very involved in their children’s lives and that gay dads tend to share the workload of parenting in an equitable way.

“There was a high degree of engagement in all types of parental roles,” Feugé told the Motreal Gazette.

However, another survey released last month found that two-thirds of gay dads had experienced discrimination.

The survey—carried out by researchers at the American Academy of Pediatrics—found that 63.5 percent of respondents reported that they had experienced stigma because of being a gay father.

The research also revealed that almost half of those surveyed (51 percent) had avoided certain situations “for fear of stigma” in the past year.

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