The village can help, but children raised by a mum and dad do best

By Graeme Archer, Telegraph

Evidence is so strong that children raised in standard two-parent families fare best that it takes a wilful perversion to ignore it.

I don’t have any paternal instinct; zilch. Perhaps this is selfishness. But there’s more than enough love and companionship in my existence. The universe is indifferent to “Graeme Archer”; that I will at some point be swept away, like a sandcastle by the waves, leaves me oddly content. Wash me, thoroughly (sic), of my iniquity, says the Psalm – and wash the Earth free, too, of my human stain, once I’ve gone.

So perhaps I’m wrong to comment on the case that emerged this week of the gay couple who are “devastated” to have ended up with two children from different racial backgrounds, after a mix-up at an IVF clinic. On the other hand, perhaps my unpaternal objectivity helps.

A lack of desire to reproduce I always imagined to be a psychological correlate of same-sex attraction. It seems evolutionarily obvious, though untestable, why we gay people exist. Raising children well is the most difficult, and important, human activity. It must help a tribe’s survival prospects for each generation to produce a few adults not impelled to pass on their genes. “It takes a village”, as they say, and uncles and aunts with no children of their own can lend a hand to the others.

Those without children can help lift the load, but the burden still lies most heavily on the actual parents, of course. Fortunately, there’s a very efficient incubator in which to maximise successful child-rearing: the emotional bond between mothers and fathers. The heterosexual family.

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