21st century families: parent-child relationships and children's psychological wellbeing


  • Prof Susan Golombok

    University of Cambridge

  • Dr Vasanti Jadva

    University of Cambridge

  • Dr Tabitha Freeman

    University of Cambridge

Project summary

New pathways to parenthood have emerged that would not have been imagined at the turn of the 21st century. People can meet prospective co-parents online, transgender people can use medically assisted reproduction to have a baby, single heterosexual men can use surrogates to become single fathers, and women can use identifiable egg donors to have children. The family structures that have emerged from these new pathways raise new ethical, social and psychological concerns, particularly regarding potentially negative consequences for children.

The proposed research will use a multidisciplinary approach to provide empirical evidence on the social and psychological consequences for children of growing up with family arrangements involving non-cohabiting co-parents, transgender parents, elective single fathers and identifiable egg donors.

Our aim is to challenge prejudice and assumption on new family structures with evidence on the consequences for children whether good, bad or neutral. The ultimate goal of the proposed research is to increase understanding of diversity in family life and improve the lives of children in the 21st century.