The association between self-perceived parental role and meaning in life (indicated by personal growth and purpose in life) was explored among 82 Israeli gay fathers that were individually matched with 82 heterosexual fathers. Self-perceived parental role was associated with meaning in life and this association was moderated by sexual orientation, demonstrating a significant positive association between self-perceived parental role and meaning in life among gay fathers but not among heterosexual fathers. The results are interpreted in light of the unique parental role gay fathers possibly construct in the context of intentional parenting and through possible life circumstances which appear associated with increased feelings of personal growth and purpose in life.
This study aims to analyze the emotional experience of pregnancy for gay couples who turn to overseas surrogacy and face a geographical distance from the pregnancy. In-depth interviews were conducted with 16 gay intended fathers, mean age 35.5 years, most of whom expected a child through surrogacy in India. The unborn children’s gestational age ranged from 10 weeks to 32 weeks. A qualitative thematic analysis of the interviews shows that the interviewees felt frustration and anxiety due to their distance from the physical pregnancy and, specifically, their inability to experience the physical presence of the fetus. The resulting emotional disconnect from the developing fetus impacted the development of their parental sense during the pregnancy. The results highlight the importance for the intended parents of establishing a close relationship with the surrogate mother, as is customary in the United States but generally not in countries such as India. The findings support the value of establishing international guidelines for cross-border reproductive services.
This study examined the psychological welfare associated with gay men couplehood (being in relationship) and gay fatherhood. From a sample of 204 Israeli gay men (age range 19-79), we compared 45 gay fathers (55.6% of them being in a steady relationship) with 45 individually matched gay men who were not fathers on indicators of psychological welfare, namely, subjective well-being, depressive symptoms (a reverse indicator), and meaning in life. In line with the study hypothesis, the results indicated that couplehood and parenthood were both associated with higher psychological welfare. Whereas the previously reported heterosexual “parenthood paradox” relates parenthood to decreased levels of subjective well-being along with increased levels of meaning in life, the current study suggests that gay fathers have elevated levels of both subjective well-being and meaning in life. We discuss possible interpretations of the findings.