Genes or gestation? Attitudes of women and men about biologic ties to children

J Womens Health. 1997 Dec;6(6):639-47. doi: 10.1089/jwh.1997.6.639.


In light of the different reproductive roles of men and women, our objective was to ascertain whether men and women attach different significance to genetic, as distinct from gestational, ties to offspring. Surveys returned by 106 men and women of reproductive age in the general clinic waiting area of the University of Chicago Health Service showed that 71.1% of women and 62.9% of men would seek medical assistance if necessary to have a biologically related child. When women were asked whether they would choose the genetic tie or the gestational tie if both were not possible, 48.6% chose the genetic tie, and 51.4% chose the gestational tie. When men were asked which relationship they preferred for their partner, 73.5% chose the genetic tie, and 26.5% chose the gestational tie. Neither marital status nor experience of child-birth (for oneself or one's partner) were predictive of preferences. Our data suggest that gender differences as well as individual differences need to be addressed in counseling individuals and couples.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude*
  • Fathers / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproductive Techniques*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires