Children of homosexual couples do not have any particular psychological problems. This is demonstrated by one of the first French studies on the subject.
Children born to same-sex parents have a behavioral and psychological development identical to that of heterosexual couples. They would be even more active than the average, though more timid. A result that should revive the polemic on the right to adoption for gay and lesbian couples.
Are children of homosexual couples less balanced than those of heterosexual parents? Although many Anglo-Saxon studies have been conducted on the subject, French scientists have not seemed to be interested. The subject of the thesis defended in October 2000 by a young child psychiatrist fills this gap.
A study of 58 children
Parents_homos Indeed, Dr. Stéphane Nadaud, from the University Hospital of Bordeaux, conducted a study of 35 girls and 23 boys, aged 4 to 16 years. All these children had parents who declared themselves homosexual, recruited thanks to the Association of Parents and future Gays and Lesbians parents (APGL). In 80% of the cases, the legal parent was a woman and lived in a couple with a same-sex partner, for an average of seven years. The mode of conception of these children varied enormously: 64% on the occasion of a sexual intercourse, 22% after insemination and 2% after a call to a surrogate mother. In addition, 12% had been adopted.
No difference from general population
In order to assess the psychological development of these children, Dr. Nadaud sent several questionnaires to the parents. One of them evaluated the psychological and behavioral profiles of each child. Result: the children of homosexual parents are not different from the general population. Those born after artificial insemination seemed even more balanced. Small detail: those who had previously lived with heterosexual parents (59% of children) had on average a somewhat worse score on the questionnaire than those who had always had parents of the same sex. For Dr. Nadaud, this may be related to the trauma of the separation of his first two parents.
More anxious parents
One of the questionnaires transmitted by the child psychiatrist concerned the temperament of these children. According to the results, they seemed more active and more able to express their emotions. Nevertheless, they seemed more timid and less sociable than the general population. According to the author, these children could have more difficulty with the others, due to the possible criticisms, concerning their family environment, that they underwent.
According to the author, the answers to the various questionnaires are reliable, the parents not being inclined to underestimate the difficulties of their children. On the contrary, they are even more anxious for their offspring than the other parents: 41% of the children benefit from a psychological follow-up.
Adoption authorized … In theory
Of course, we must recognize the limits of this work: the number studied is very low, and the children have not been followed over a long term, in particular to know their evolution during adolescence. Nevertheless, these results confirm those of the numerous Anglo-Saxon studies. Although it is impossible to summarize all the studies, these studies emphasize that there is no psychological problem in the development of children of same-sex parents. These studies also show that having same-sex parents has no influence on sexual orientation in adulthood.
These results should revive the polemic on the right to adoption of homosexual couples, which some would like to call into question. In France, adoption is open to anyone over 28 years of age or married couples with guarantees of equilibrium for the child (Article 343-1 of the Civil Code). Nothing in theory prohibits adoption for homosexual couples, although in practice this often proves difficult. On the other hand, artificial insemination with donor is allowed only in heterosexual couples, whereas it is allowed for single women in other European countries like Belgium.