Recent data and scientific studies have shown that in the case of fathers, their brain chemistries will change to accommodate parenthood. Evidence has shown that the brain of the parent who assumes the role of primary caregiver, a role that is typically associated with mothers, changes patterns to match those of a mother’s. Specifically, the amygdala becomes more involved in a man’s brain chemistry. The amygdala, which is the part of the brain associated with reward increases in activity whilst caring for a child.
Ruth Feldman, a professor at Yale University stated that this change in brain activity in fathers only occurs when the mother is not around to actively care for the child. What is important to note however is that this change occurs in all male parents. Gay men who assume the role of caregiver experience the same sort of changes in their own brain chemistry. Studies have also shown that oxytocin (the chemical associated with bonding) levels in all genders and orientations are similar, showing that all individuals are biologically programmed to care for children.
These sorts of studies demonstrate that the ability of homosexual parents, and in this case gay men, to successfully care for their children are crucial in the debate on whether or not gays are adequate parents. Despite the fact that many critics deem same-sex parents as unnatural or abnormal, these studies show that the inherent, biological need to care for the young will circumvent and practically accommodate the perceived obstacles that same-sex couples supposedly face. Lamentably, many adoption agencies will not work with same-sex couples while some states in the United States ban the idea altogether.
Dr. Feldman’s study shows that while the brain chemistry of fathers changes to accommodate parenthood, gay male parents have an especially unique chemistry. Their brains seem to change to act as both mother and father. This is likely due to the absence of a female caregiver. When gay father’s brains were examined, it was determined that the parts of the brain responsible for emotional and cognitive response were both highly active when caring for their children. When one male parent acted as the primary caregiver, both parts of the brain were increasingly active.
Dr. Feldman’s study is described as unprecedented, considering how this is the first large study that looks at the parental brain, hormones, and behaviors that mothers, heterosexual fathers, and homosexual fathers exhibit as primary caregivers.
The fact that fathers’ brain chemistries change to accommodate parenthood demonstrates how important in our evolution it was to be able to parent one’s young. This seems to be the key fact when it comes to gay parents. While heterosexual parents have historically been the most typical examples of parenthood, it is by no means a requirement according to nature itself. Parenting is simply the ability to care for one’s children, and while there are other factors to consider such as culture and environment, the need to procreate and care for the young is so strong, that, in a literal sense, the insides of a person must be changed in order to provide the sort of care that developing children require.
By David Jones