John M. Becker

Study: Gay Dads' Brains Develop Maternal, Paternal Patterns

Filed By John M. Becker | May 27, 2014 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: debunking, gay marriage, LGBT parenting, Mark Regnerus, marriage equality, myth-busting, same-sex marriage, same-sex parenting, scientific study

In another major blow to the already-debunked "kids need a mother and a father" canard, a new Israeli study finds that gay men raising children conceived through surrogacy develop brain patterns resembling those of both mothers and fathers.

Reuters reports:

Having a baby alters new mothers' brain activity, researchers have found, and a new study adds the first evidence of such changes in the brains of gay men raising children they adopted through surrogacy.

The men's pattern of brain activity resembles that of both new mothers and new fathers in the study... The 48 gay fathers raising children with their husbands seemed to be both mom and dad, brain-wise. Their emotional circuits were as active as those of mothers and the interpretive circuits showed the same extra activity as that of heterosexual fathers'.

Ideally, scientists would perform neuroimaging on men and women before and then after they became parents, to show definitely that any heightened activity followed junior's arrival and was not present before. Until they can do that, Feldman said, she is confident that the telltale brain activity results from parenting.

One clue: in gay fathers, but not heterosexual ones, the brain also had extra communication lines between emotional and cognitive structures. The more time a man spent as primary caregiver, the greater the connectivity. It was as if playing both parental roles caused the brain to integrate the structures required for each.

"Fathers' brains are very plastic," Feldman said. "When there are two fathers, their brains must recruit both networks, the emotional and cognitive, for optimal parenting." [Emphases mine.]

Once again, science has undermined a major right-wing, anti-LGBT talking point -- one that's repeatedly deployed by everyone from the National Organization for Marriage Discrimination to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to the Heritage Foundation as an argument for excluding same-sex couples from marriage. Funny how the facts don't support the hysterical claims of our opponents, eh?

When it comes to parenting, it's love -- not gender -- that matters. Eat your heart out, Mark Regnerus.


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