Two moms are better than dad

In a new study published in the online edition of the journal
Pediatrics on June 7, researchers found children born to and raised by lesbian couples were better off socially, academically and more competent than their peers.

Co-investigators of the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Survey (NLLFS) , Nanette Gartrell, MD and Henny Bos, PhD, began following 154 pregnant lesbians between 1986-92 to create the world's "largest, longest running, prospective, longitudinal study of same-sex-parented families."

The researchers set out to follow the babies from conception to adulthood and to date 93% of the families are still participating in the study that includes interviews, questionnaires and Achenbach's Child Behavior Checklists. (CBCL).

"According to their mothers' reports, the 17-year-old daughters and sons of lesbian mothers were rated significantly higher in social, school/academic, and total competence and significantly lower in social problems, rule-breaking, aggressive, and externalizing problem behavior than their age-matched counterparts in Achenbach's normative sample of American youth."

Gartrell told US magazine Time that she "was surprised to find that on some measures we found higher levels of [psychological] competency and lower levels of behavioral problems. It wasn't something I anticipated."

Bos and Gartrell noted that there was no CBCL differences within the lesbian family sample based on the family unit whether separated, together or any knowledge/relationship of sperm-donor/biological father.

"Our findings show that adolescents who have been raised since birth in planned lesbian families demonstrate healthy psychological adjustment and thus provide no justification for restricting access to reproductive technologies or child custody on the basis of the sexual orientation of the parents," concluded the authors.

Both also explained that the key was in the mothers' active engagement and oddly the same diversity that caused their children stress due to teasing at age ten served as a solid foundation for broaching challenging critical issues as they grew up - making for better-adjusted 17-year-olds.

Down the line, both would like to include a similar study using same-sex male couples but it is more difficult and expensive for two men to become fathers.

Full study: "US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Psychological Adjustment of 17-Year-Old Adolescents": http://bit.ly/d1b3p6

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