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Why everyone is asking if fathers matter | Deseret News National
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Jae C. Hong, Associated Press
Family

Why everyone is asking if fathers matter

How much do dads matter?

It’s a topic many have been talking about in recent weeks. Deseret News National even rounded up the topic, asking if dads need more credit. Different articles from across the Web looked at how dads fit into modern society and whether or not they are getting the appreciation they deserve.

But this week, the new question has risen: Do dads matter?

Some might not think so, especially after The Atlantic’s recent article about the future of reproduction — one that might not include dads at all.

“Future reproductive innovations are likely to develop in similar ways — led by practitioners, with little U.S. government oversight,” wrote Alexis C. Madrigal for The Atlantic. “Few people, it seems, want to stand in the way of someone who desires a biological family. And so far, almost no one has. But some of the reproductive technologies on the horizon could test our flexibility.”

Madrigal’s article highlights five different ways reproduction will change, including more people getting involved in donation scenarios, biological clocks being personalized, and timing procreation more accurately. This will lead to an interesting situation overall, she wrote.

“The future of reproduction might be increasingly diverse families making increasingly similar babies,” Madrigal wrote.

If a lot of reproduction’s future rests with science and the lab, do dads really have a place when so much can happen without them?

Paul Raeburn of The New York Post wrote a recent article that tried to answer this question, looking specifically at how children grow up with or without dads. And, usually, a dad who contributes during a woman’s pregnancy actually helps their child grow, Raeburn wrote.

“Studies show that the death rate of infants whose fathers were not around during pregnancy is nearly four times that of those with engaged dads. And depression in fathers during their partners’ pregnancies — which is more common than most people realize — can increase the child’s lifelong risk of depression,” Raeburn wrote.

And no matter what studies come out about fathers and their importance, dads want to be recognized as crucial, since it helps them believe that what their dads did for them was important, too, Raeburn wrote.

“They underscore what many of us experience — that our fathers are important in our lives. And it underscores the hope that many fathers have — that they, in turn, will be important in their children’s lives,” he wrote.

Raeburn was featured in a piece by The New York Times, too, as he’s writing a book called “Do Fathers Matter?” And the book shows that there is, in fact, a need for fathers.

“Some new research explains genetic and epigenetic links that are unique to fathers and their children, while other studies explore the impact of fathers’ presence or absence,” wrote Mark Oppenheimer for The New York Times. “In many studies, there is no clear divide between the biological and psychological: Being around dads affects children’s biology, which in turn affects their mental states, like happiness, and their success in life.”

Email: hscribner@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: @herbscribner