Intending fathers: heterosexual men planning for a first child

Clare Bartholomaeus, Damien Riggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Having a child is often treated as a taken for granted part of heterosexual relationships, a norm so entrenched that there is often little discussion amongst couples as to why they want children. In terms of research, while women’s reasons for having children have been explored in detail, little attention has been paid to heterosexual men’s reasons for having children. This article presents a thematic analysis of interview data with 10 Australian heterosexual men in couples who were planning to have a first child in the near future. The men’s responses involved both self-focused motivations, where the child is essentially positioned as an object (e.g. continuing the bloodline), and other-focused motivations, where reasons focused on a future relationship with the child (e.g. teaching and watching a child grow). Our findings show that participants reported self-focused and other-focused motivations for wanting a child, reflecting both traditional and newer approaches to fatherhood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-91
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Family Studies
Issue number1
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


  • family
  • Fatherhood
  • heterosexuality
  • parenting
  • reproduction


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