Tag Archives: Fertility Treatment

Study: fathers are important for the development of children’s brains

Fathers and children
Fathers and children

The study was reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

Dr. Braun’s group found that at 21 days, the fatherless animals had less dense dendritic spines compared to animals raised by both parents, though they “caught up” by day 90. However, the length of some types of dendrites was significantly shorter in some parts of the brain, even in adulthood, in fatherless animals.

“It just shows that parents are leaving footprints on the brain of their kids,” says Dr. Braun, 54 years old.

The neuronal differences were observed in a part of the brain called the amygdala, which is related to emotional responses and fear, and the orbitofrontal cortex, or OFC, the brain’s decision-making center.

[…]The balance between these two brain parts is critical to normal emotional and cognitive functioning, according to Dr. Braun. If the OFC isn’t active, the amygdala “goes crazy, like a horse without a rider,” she says. In the case of the fatherless pups, there were fewer dendritic spines in the OFC, while the dendrite trees in the amygdala grew more and longer branches.

A preliminary analysis of the degus’ behavior showed that fatherless animals seemed to have a lack of impulse control, Dr. Braun says. And, when they played with siblings, they engaged in more play-fighting or aggressive behavior.

In a separate study in Dr. Braun’s lab conducted by post-doctoral researcher Joerg Bock, degu pups were removed from their caregivers for one hour a day. Just this small amount of stress leads the pups to exhibit more hyperactive behaviors and less focused attention, compared to those who aren’t separated, Dr. Braun says. They also exhibit changes in their brain.

The basic wiring between the brain regions in the degus is the same as in humans, and the nerve cells are identical in their function. “So on that level we can assume that what happens in the animal’s brain when it’s raised in an impoverished environment … should be very similar to what happens in our children’s brain,” Dr. Braun says.

Read the whole thing.

I think this is important because we hear so much today that marriage can be redefined, that having one of each parent doesn’t matter, that live-in boyfriends and stepfathers have the same motivation to care for a woman’s children as the biological father does. We don’t want to make judgments, even if setting boundaries is better for children. A child’s well-being is enormously affected by the woman’s choice of biological father.  You can’t have it both ways – either we are going to judge women who choose men who don’t have the desire to commit to marriage, and do the father role, OR we are going to take things away from children by encouraging women to choose men based on “feelings” instead of abilities. Lowering moral standards and removing moral obligations hurts children. It sounds so nice when we tell women, “you can do whatever you feel like, and just forget about responsibilities, expectations and obligations”, but letting women be guided by their feelings harms children. My stock broker makes me feel uncomfortable because he knows more than I do, and does not respect my opinion. But I pay him to make investment decisions for me. I mustn’t let my pride get in the way of letting him do his job – a job he is more qualified than I am to do. Let him do his job.

Here’s a related question: Are biological fathers or unrelated men more dangerous for children?

This article from the Weekly Standard answers the question.

Excerpt:

A March 1996 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics contains some interesting findings that indicate just how widespread the problem may be. In a nationally representative survey of state prisoners jailed for assaults against or murders of children, fully one-half of respondents reported the victim was a friend, acquaintance, or relative other than offspring. (All but 3 percent of those who committed violent crimes against children were men.) A close relationship between victim and victimizer is also suggested by the fact that three-quarters of all the crimes occurred in either the perpetrator’s home or the victim’s.

A 1994 paper published in the Journal of Comparative Family Studies looked at 32,000 documented cases of child abuse. Of the victims, only 28 percent lived with both biological parents (far fewer than the 68 percent of all children who live with both parents); 44 percent lived with their mother only (as do 25 percent of all children); and 18 percent lived with their mother and an unrelated adult (double the 9 percent of all children who live with their mother and an unrelated adult).

These findings mirror a 1993 British study by the Family Education Trust, which meticulously explored the relationship between family structure and child abuse. Using data on documented cases of abuse in Britain between 1982 and 1988, the report found a high correlation between child abuse and the marital status of the parents.

Specifically, the British study found that the incidence of abuse was an astounding 33 times higher in homes where the mother was cohabiting with an unrelated boyfriend than in stable nuclear families. Even when the boyfriend was the children’s biological father, the chances of abuse were twice as high.

These findings are consonant with those published a year earlier by Leslie Margolin of the University of Iowa in the journal Child Abuse and Neglect. Prof. Margolin found that boyfriends were 27 times more likely than natural parents to abuse a child. The next-riskiest group, siblings, were only twice as likely as parents to abuse a child.

More recently, a report by Dr. Michael Stiffman presented at the latest meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in October, studied the 175 Missouri children under the age of 5 who were murdered between 1992 and 1994. It found that the risk of a child’s dying at the hands of an adult living in the child’s own household was eight times higher if the adult was biologically unrelated.

The Heritage Foundation’s Patrick Fagan discovered that the number of child-abuse cases appeared to rise in the 1980s along with the general societal acceptance of cohabitation before, or instead of, marriage. That runs counter to the radical-feminist view, which holds that marriage is an oppressive male institution of which violence is an integral feature. If that were true, then child abuse and domestic violence should have decreased along with the rise in cohabitation.

Heritage also found that in the case of very poor children (those in households earning less than $ 15,000 per year), 75 percent lived in a household where the biological father was absent. And 50 percent of adults with less than a high-school education lived in cohabitation arrangements. “This mix — poverty, lack of education, children, and cohabitation — is an incubator for violence,” Fagan says.

Why, then, do we ignore the problem? Fagan has a theory: “It is extremely politically incorrect to suggest that living together might not be the best living arrangement.”

The moral of the story is that it is a lot safer for children if we promote marriage as a way of attaching mothers and fathers to their children. Fathers who have a biological connection to children are a lot less likely to harm them. We should probably be teaching women to choose men who have a certain tenderness towards people they mentor or nurture, as well. These things are not free, you have to persuade women to value the male tendency to want to lead / guide / mentor. A lot of social problems like child poverty, promiscuity and violence cannot be solved by replacing a father with a check from the government. We need to support fathers by empowering them in their traditional roles. Let the men lead. Swallow your feminist instincts, and prefer men who take seriously their role of leading others upward.

Why do we celebrate Fathers Day? Why is fatherhood important?

Father’s Day is the day that children and wives are supposed to honor fathers by giving them respect for being providers, protectors and moral/spiritual leaders. One of the best ways to motivate this duty is by studying research to find out the difference that fathers make.

Some statistics on the importance of biological fathers from Fathers.com.

Excerpt:

Some fathering advocates would say that almost every social ill faced by America’s children is related to fatherlessness. Six are noted here. As supported by the data below, children from fatherless homes are more likely to be poor, become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, drop out of school, and suffer from health and emotional problems. Boys are more likely to become involved in crime, and girls are more likely to become pregnant as teens.

For a summary, I’ll just list one fact from each of the six categories they listed.

1. Poverty

Fact:

– Children in father-absent homes are five times more likely to be poor. In 2002, 7.8% of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 38.4% of children in female-householder families.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2002, P20-547, Table C8. Washington, D.C.: GPO 2003.

2. Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Fact:

– The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.”

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics. Survey on Child Health. Washington, DC, 1993.

3. Physical and Emotional Health

Fact:

– Unmarried mothers are less likely to obtain prenatal care and more likely to have a low birthweight baby. Researchers find that these negative effects persist even when they take into account factors, such as parental education, that often distinguish single-parent from two-parent families.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. Report to Congress on Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing. Hyattsville, MD (Sept. 1995): 12.

– Children in single-parent families are two to three times as likely as children in two-parent families to have emotional and behavioral problems.Source: Stanton, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics.”National Health Interview Survey.” Hyattsville, MD, 1988.

4. Educational Achievement

Fact:

– After taking into account race, socioeconomic status, sex, age, and ability, high school students from single-parent households were 1.7 times more likely to drop out than were their corresponding counterparts living with both biological parents.Source: McNeal, Ralph B. Jr.”Extracurricular Activities and High School Dropouts.” Sociology of Education 68(1995): 62-81.

5. Crime

Fact:

– Children in single parent families are more likely to be in trouble with the law than their peers who grow up with two parents.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics. National Health Interview Survey. Hyattsville, MD, 1988.

6. Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy

Fact:

– A white teenage girl from an advantaged background is five times more likely to become a teen mother if she grows up in a single-mother household than if she grows up in a household with both biological parents.Source: Whitehead, Barbara Dafoe. “Facing the Challenges of Fragmented Families.” The Philanthropy Roundtable 9.1 (1995): 21.

Now take a look at this Wall Street Journal article that explains some of the ways that fathers have beneficial effects on children.

Excerpt:

As an estimated 70.1 million fathers prepare to celebrate Father’s Day in the U.S., recent research shows that their distinct style of parenting is particularly worth recognition: The way dads tend to interact has long-term benefits for kids, independent of those linked to good mothering.

[…]The benefits of involved fathering are known: improved cognitive skills, fewer behavioral problems among school-age children, less delinquency among teenage boys and fewer psychological problems in young women, based on an analysis of 16 long-term studies of father involvement, published in 2008 in the scholarly journal Acta Paediatrica.

Some of dads’ behavior may spring from their roles as family breadwinners. Although mothers play a significant role in the workforce, men are still the primary breadwinners in more than three-fourths of married-couple households.

And 48% of working fathers spend less than six hours a day with their children, compared with 31% of working mothers, according to a recent poll of 459 working adults by Workplace Options, a provider of employee-assistance and work-life programs in Raleigh, N.C.

As a result, fathers may be less familiar with their children’s nonverbal cues. Such dads tend to challenge children more to express themselves in words, helping foster the better cognitive skills researchers have found in 2-year-olds with involved fathers.

Parenting patterns may be rooted in neurological differences. Under stress, research shows, men’s brains are wired to respond to challenges physically, leaping into action. Women are more likely to withdraw or shut down.

Because fathers have had to learn to manage their own impulses to strike out or react physically to frustration, they may be better equipped than mothers to help children manage their own urges to behave badly, Dr. Pruett says.

Indeed, fathers typically aren’t as upset as mothers by kids’ tantrums or bad behavior, based on a 2009 survey of 1,615 parents by Zero to Three, a nonprofit child-development research and policy organization. Only half as many fathers as mothers say their children’s temper tantrums are one of their biggest challenges.

Fathers matter, so women need to choose men who will be good fathers. And that means having an idea of what fathers do, and knowing how to evaluate a man to see if he can do what fathers do. There’s more to fathers than handsomeness and fun!

Related posts

What is the meaning and purpose of Father’s Day?

Father’s Day is the day that children and wives are supposed to honor fathers by giving them respect for being providers, protectors and moral/spiritual leaders. One of the best ways to motivate this duty is by studying research to find out the difference that fathers make.

Some statistics on the importance of biological fathers from Fathers.com.

Excerpt:

Some fathering advocates would say that almost every social ill faced by America’s children is related to fatherlessness. Six are noted here. As supported by the data below, children from fatherless homes are more likely to be poor, become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, drop out of school, and suffer from health and emotional problems. Boys are more likely to become involved in crime, and girls are more likely to become pregnant as teens.

For a summary, I’ll just list one fact from each of the six categories they listed.

1. Poverty

Fact:

– Children in father-absent homes are five times more likely to be poor. In 2002, 7.8% of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 38.4% of children in female-householder families.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2002, P20-547, Table C8. Washington, D.C.: GPO 2003.

2. Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Fact:

– The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.”

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics. Survey on Child Health. Washington, DC, 1993.

3. Physical and Emotional Health

Fact:

– Unmarried mothers are less likely to obtain prenatal care and more likely to have a low birthweight baby. Researchers find that these negative effects persist even when they take into account factors, such as parental education, that often distinguish single-parent from two-parent families.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. Report to Congress on Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing. Hyattsville, MD (Sept. 1995): 12.

– Children in single-parent families are two to three times as likely as children in two-parent families to have emotional and behavioral problems.Source: Stanton, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics.”National Health Interview Survey.” Hyattsville, MD, 1988.

4. Educational Achievement

Fact:

– After taking into account race, socioeconomic status, sex, age, and ability, high school students from single-parent households were 1.7 times more likely to drop out than were their corresponding counterparts living with both biological parents.Source: McNeal, Ralph B. Jr.”Extracurricular Activities and High School Dropouts.” Sociology of Education 68(1995): 62-81.

5. Crime

Fact:

– Children in single parent families are more likely to be in trouble with the law than their peers who grow up with two parents.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics. National Health Interview Survey. Hyattsville, MD, 1988.

6. Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy

Fact:

– A white teenage girl from an advantaged background is five times more likely to become a teen mother if she grows up in a single-mother household than if she grows up in a household with both biological parents.Source: Whitehead, Barbara Dafoe. “Facing the Challenges of Fragmented Families.” The Philanthropy Roundtable 9.1 (1995): 21.

Now take a look at this Wall Street Journal article that explains some of the ways that fathers have beneficial effects on children.

Excerpt:

As an estimated 70.1 million fathers prepare to celebrate Father’s Day in the U.S., recent research shows that their distinct style of parenting is particularly worth recognition: The way dads tend to interact has long-term benefits for kids, independent of those linked to good mothering.

[…]The benefits of involved fathering are known: improved cognitive skills, fewer behavioral problems among school-age children, less delinquency among teenage boys and fewer psychological problems in young women, based on an analysis of 16 long-term studies of father involvement, published in 2008 in the scholarly journal Acta Paediatrica.

Some of dads’ behavior may spring from their roles as family breadwinners. Although mothers play a significant role in the workforce, men are still the primary breadwinners in more than three-fourths of married-couple households.

And 48% of working fathers spend less than six hours a day with their children, compared with 31% of working mothers, according to a recent poll of 459 working adults by Workplace Options, a provider of employee-assistance and work-life programs in Raleigh, N.C.

As a result, fathers may be less familiar with their children’s nonverbal cues. Such dads tend to challenge children more to express themselves in words, helping foster the better cognitive skills researchers have found in 2-year-olds with involved fathers.

Parenting patterns may be rooted in neurological differences. Under stress, research shows, men’s brains are wired to respond to challenges physically, leaping into action. Women are more likely to withdraw or shut down.

Because fathers have had to learn to manage their own impulses to strike out or react physically to frustration, they may be better equipped than mothers to help children manage their own urges to behave badly, Dr. Pruett says.

Indeed, fathers typically aren’t as upset as mothers by kids’ tantrums or bad behavior, based on a 2009 survey of 1,615 parents by Zero to Three, a nonprofit child-development research and policy organization. Only half as many fathers as mothers say their children’s temper tantrums are one of their biggest challenges.

Fathers matter, so women need to choose men who will be good fathers. And that means having an idea of what fathers do, and knowing how to evaluate a man to see if he can do what fathers do. There’s more to fathers than handsomeness and fun!

Related posts

Scientists discover how fathers improve brain development of children

Story from the Wall Street Journal. (H/T Andrew)

Excerpt:

Dr. Braun’s group found that at 21 days, the fatherless animals had less dense dendritic spines compared to animals raised by both parents, though they “caught up” by day 90. However, the length of some types of dendrites was significantly shorter in some parts of the brain, even in adulthood, in fatherless animals.

“It just shows that parents are leaving footprints on the brain of their kids,” says Dr. Braun, 54 years old.

The neuronal differences were observed in a part of the brain called the amygdala, which is related to emotional responses and fear, and the orbitofrontal cortex, or OFC, the brain’s decision-making center.

[…]The balance between these two brain parts is critical to normal emotional and cognitive functioning, according to Dr. Braun. If the OFC isn’t active, the amygdala “goes crazy, like a horse without a rider,” she says. In the case of the fatherless pups, there were fewer dendritic spines in the OFC, while the dendrite trees in the amygdala grew more and longer branches.

A preliminary analysis of the degus’ behavior showed that fatherless animals seemed to have a lack of impulse control, Dr. Braun says. And, when they played with siblings, they engaged in more play-fighting or aggressive behavior.

In a separate study in Dr. Braun’s lab conducted by post-doctoral researcher Joerg Bock, degu pups were removed from their caregivers for one hour a day. Just this small amount of stress leads the pups to exhibit more hyperactive behaviors and less focused attention, compared to those who aren’t separated, Dr. Braun says. They also exhibit changes in their brain.

The basic wiring between the brain regions in the degus is the same as in humans, and the nerve cells are identical in their function. “So on that level we can assume that what happens in the animal’s brain when it’s raised in an impoverished environment … should be very similar to what happens in our children’s brain,” Dr. Braun says.

Read the whole thing.

Related posts

New Scientist article shows why fathers are necessary for children’s well-being

Here’s a story from the New Scientist. (H/T Jennifer Roback Morse)

First let’s re-cap the old stuff:

Previous studies have hinted at the importance of fathers in child-rearing. Some have shown that girls reach puberty younger, become sexually active earlier and are more likely to get pregnant in their teens if their father was absent when they were young. Others have suggested that the sons of absent fathers display lower intimacy and self-esteem.

Now let’s get the new stuff:

Cells in pups deprived of fathers had a blunted response to oxytocin – the “cuddle chemical”, which is normally released during social interactions and pair bonding. They also had an increased response to NMDA, which is involved in memory.

The fatherless mice were also less interested in engaging with other mice. “Usually if you put two animals in the same cage they investigate and touch each other, but when we put two animals deprived of a father together they ignored each other,” says Gobbi. Her colleague Francis Bambico presented the work at the World Congress of Biological Psychiatry in Paris, France, in early July.

But according to this Telegraph article, it doesn’t seem as though research impacts public policy. (H/T Andrew)

Excerpt:

Women who undergo fertility treatment and their same-sex partners are now both allowed to register as parents on their baby’s birth certificates.

The move has been criticised for damaging the traditional notion of a family, which many people say is necessary for a healthy upbringing.

But ministers insist it is a step forward for equal rights.

Lord Brett, the Home Office Minister, said: “This positive change means that for the first time female couples who have a child using fertility treatment have the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts to be shown as parents in the birth registration.

“It is vital that we afford equality wherever we can in society, especially as family circumstances continue to change. This is an important step forward in that process.”

There are powerful special interest groups on the left whose whole purpose is to demonize fathers and destroy marriage. They want children to be raised by the state, (i.e. – by those who run the secular government). They think that government programs taught by strangers and designed by experts well-versed in all the isms of the left, are better for children than their biological parents.