We’ve heard it all before.

“All kids need is to be ‘safe and loved.'”

“Love makes a family.”

“All a child needs is two loving parents.”

As Them Before Us advocates know, these pithy phrases can only be true if we ignore biological reality, natural law, and accurate social science data. The reality is that a mother and father are so significant to the children they produce, that even the term “parenting” is a bit of a misnomer. We live in a society today that pretends these differences don’t exist, and this has had far-reaching implications for society.

But what makes this man and woman so significant to the child they produce together?

Biology Matters

Most scholars now agree that children raised by two biological parents in a stable marriage do better than children in other family forms across a wide range of outcomes.” -Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Brookings Institution


All humans ask the existential question, “Who am I?” While children in traditional homes have access to their identity with relation to kinship bonds (including bonds with extended family), adoptees and donor-conceived people must formulate their sense of self without it.

  • 72% of adoptees want to know why they were given up for adoption
  • 65% expressed a desire to meet their birth parent
  • 94% expressed the desire to know which birth parent they resemble most – American Adoption Congress Survey
  • 64% of donor-conceived adults agreed “My donor is half of who I am.”
  • 78% agreed being donor-conceived was a significant part of their identity
  • 81% often wondered what personality traits, skills, and/or physical similarities they shared with their donor – We Are Donor Conceived Survey

Not only does connection to biological mom and dad offer all of this to children, the security and love children feel witnessing the love between their mother and father cannot be fully replicated with any other family arrangement:

A few years back, child psychologist Pat Fagan shared an insight gained from his decades-long family practice that shocked me. Throughout his thousands of sessions counseling hundreds of families, Fagan observed a universal dynamic. When children witnessed their own mother and father loving one another, they felt like their parents were loving them. In Fagan’s opinion, the mother-father bond is the only human relationship through which someone can experience love indirectly, a love felt exclusively by their child. – Them Before Us, Biology Matters, p27

Read Michael’s story:

I am eternally grateful for my life, God’s love shown to my mother in answering her prayer, and for all the miracles which had to take place for me to be alive and healthy today. My brother and I were born 3 months early at approximately 26 weeks gestation and weighed about 2 pounds each. However, being 28 years old now and having reflected extensively on growing up as a donor-conceived child of a single mother, I would not advise any other women or couples to conceive a child in this way.

I remember vividly longing for a father as I grew up. It was very specific at times, especially when I would see other children with loving, involved fathers and at other times it was more of a feeling of just knowing some piece was missing in my life.

Gender Matters

If gender differences did not matter in parenting, then children would not be missing out on any unique parental benefits in fatherless homes. However, this is not the case. Gender differences are real and they have a significant impact on children. For example, children from fatherless homes are more prone to engage in sexual activities early in life, are more likely to live in poverty, and have higher chances of delinquency and drug abuse.

Granted, there are children who grew up in foster homes, orphanages, with adoptive parents, same-sex parents, or in a single-parent household who are excelling in life. However, these exceptions do not overrule the well-established fact that “two parents—a father and a mother—are better for a child than one parent.” It is also important to note that having a father and a mother together in a household, in itself, is not enough. Fathers and mothers must be involved with their children and the relationship between the father and the mother must be a low-conflict relationship. These are the conditions that most benefit children.

Consider Robert’s story:

I had no male figure at all to follow, and my mother and her partner were both unlike traditional fathers or traditional mothers. As a result, I had very few recognizable social cues to offer potential male or female friends, since I was neither confident nor sensitive to others. Thus I befriended people rarely and alienated others easily. Gay people who grew up in straight parents’ households may have struggled with their sexual orientation; but when it came to the vast social universe of adaptations not dealing with sexuality—how to act, how to speak, how to behave—they had the advantage of learning at home.

Marriage Matters

Marriage is a matter of justice for children because it’s the only relationship that unites the two people to whom children have a natural right – their mother and father. It is a comprehensive union of spouses with a special link to children. Each of its norms- permanence, monogamy, and exclusivity- distinctly benefit children. Government can permit adults to form all manner of consensual relationships, but should only promote the one relationship- lifelong male/female unions- which protect children’s rights. Marriage is not a guarantee of parenthood, but it’s guaranteed that every child is the product of a mother and father. Marriage is society’s best shot at giving children both…for life.

Government’s interest in marriage is children. As explained in the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA):

At bottom, civil society has an interest in maintaining and protecting the institution of heterosexual marriage because it has a deep and abiding interest in encouraging responsible procreation and child-rearing. With their ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court made gay marriage the law of the land, yet these truths persist:

  • Children are the natural product of a sexual relationship between a man and a woman.
  • Both a father and mother are necessary and important for children.
  • Marriage between one man and one woman is the best way to promote healthy families.

We can see how important marriage was and is to children by seeing how damaging divorce has been. Check out these nine stories of children when they learned their parents’ marriage was over:

When I was 11 years old, I came home from Vacation Bible School, and my mother told me she was moving out and divorcing my dad. She knew that I was aware of her affairs. I felt dirty, like I was guilty by association. It made me incredibly insecure when anyone said I looked like her/reminded them of her. It alienated me from that side of my family. — Ava

I was 5 years old when my parents got divorced. To be honest, I don’t recall a moment they sat my sister and I down and told us. We just remember Dad being gone for months at a time before he came back into town and I started my visitation. – Chapman

With our #ANDnotOR campaign, this Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we’re inviting all adults who care about children to help create a culture that protects every child’s right to their mother and father. Join us in this vital campaign to affirm that both moms and dads matter—not as an interchangeable option, but as a united, essential pair for the upbringing of healthy, happy children. Let’s champion the cause that supports the well-being of our next generation by ensuring they have the love and guidance of both mom and dad. Your support will bring us closer to a world where children’s rights to their biological parents are not just recognized but celebrated.

When you give toward our $50,000 goal, you are giving for the 50% of kids:

… Whose right to their mother and father have been denied

… Who have experienced family breakdown

… Who have had to do hard things on behalf of adults

… Whose rights were sacrificed to adult desires

We hope this Mother’s and Father’s Day you will join the movement!