Another guest post by Dana
The study followed 78 lesbian couples who conceived through sperm donations and assessed their children's well-being through a series of questionnaires and interviews.
Dr. Nanette Gartrell started the study in 1986. She recruited subjects through announcements in bookstores, lesbian events and newspapers throughout metro Boston, Massachusetts; San Francisco, California, and Washington.
She interviewed the mothers during their pregnancy or during the insemination process, and again when the children were 2, 5, 10 and 17 years old (the children in the study are now 18 to 23 years old).
The children were interviewed four times throughout their childhood and completed an online questionnaire that focused on their psychological adjustment, peer and family relationships and academic progress at age 17.
Dr. Gartrell used the Child Behavior Checklist, a commonly used standard to measure children's behavioral and social problems, to assess their well-being.
Not only did the children of lesbian couples fare well, they actually rated higher in social, academic and total competence and showed lower rates in social, rule-breaking and aggressive problem behavior.
So why the controversy? Funding for the research came from several lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy groups (i.e. the Gill Foundation and the Lesbian Health Fund from the Gay Lesbian Medical Association).
Here's my take on this. I can see two glaring issues with this study:
- It was a very small and specific sample group - only 78 couples and only lesbians who were artificially inseminated.
- Results of the Child Behavior Checklist were compared to national norms rather that with a comparative sample group - heterosexual couples who used artificial insemination to have children.
I cannot look at the funding of this study and come to the conclusion that Wendy Wright, president of the Concerned Women for America (a group that supports biblical values) did - "This study was clearly designed to come out with one outcome -- to attempt to sway people that children are not detrimentally affected in a homosexual household."
I'm also not willing to look at the results of this study and decide that all children should be raised by lesbian couples since the study shows they score higher in social, academic and total competence behaviors and showed lower rates in social, rule-breaking and aggressive problem behaviors.
What I take away from this study is that children growing up in a loving, 2-parent family, where the pregnancy is planned, will likely do better than children born into much different circumstances ... no matter if their parents are heterosexual or homosexual.
What do you think?