Male-Father Involvement in Reproductive Health and

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					Minnesota Department of Health Fact Sheet                                                          Summer 2004
Pregnant Women, Mothers and Infants
Male-Father Involvement in Reproductive Health
and Parenting
Size of the Problem                                                    Minnesota Out-of-Wedlock Births,
Over 68,000 births occur annually in Minnesota                                   1996- 2002
with the same number of birth fathers. In 2002,               28
27.5% of Minnesota births were to unmarried                  27.5                                                27.5
mothers.1, 2 Male reproductive involvement is                 27
essential in each of these births. Having a legal            26.5
father identified on the birth certificate is impor-
tant so that the infant/child can get Social Security                                                     25.8

                                                                                     25.7   25.7   25.7
benefits, Veteran’s benefits, tribal registration                             25.2
benefits, health care coverage, worker compen-                25       24.9
sation benefits and inheritance rights. Children             24.5
also benefit by knowing both of their parent’s                24
biological, cultural and medical histories.                  23.5
                                                                    1996   1997   1998   1999   2000   2001   2002
People affected by male involvement in repro-            • Presenting more positive images and models
ductive health and parenting. Responsible sexual           for responsible, healthy masculinity.8
behavior is one of the ten leading health indica-        • Increasing men’s sensitivity to gender equity
tors for the nation in Healthy People 2010 and             and reducing the incidents of violence against
targets the behavior of both men and women.3               women.6
Teenage males face reproductive health decisions         • Increasing men’s access to comprehensive
with fewer resources and male-specific                     health care.9
counseling/clinic services than their female
partners. Men make up only 2% of clients in the         National data indicates that early male sexual
federally funded Title X Family Planning                experience is associated with other problem
programs. 4 The anticipated growth is expected to       behaviors in 15-19 year olds:
reach 300,000 high-school aged males in 2002.             • 76% of sexually experienced males reported
Research notes that young men perceive preg-                using drugs in the past 12 months;
nancy as a negative event that could prevent              • 75% had past criminal involvement;
achievement of their specific life goals.5                • 87% were >2years behind in school.10
Involving young men in family planning and              Once an infant is born, a father’s role as parent has
reproductive health has the following benefits.         profound impact according to national research.
  • Reducing the rate of unintended pregnancy           Children in father-present homes:
    and HIV.6                                             • Had higher IQ, verbal and performance scores
  • Improving communication between young                   than children in father-absent homes;
    men and women, helping them make more                 • Were less likely to experience emotional
    informed, shared decisions around family                disorders and depression; and
    planning and reproductive health.7                    • Had daughters who delayed sexual activity.11
                         Maternal and Child Health
                         85 E. 7th Place, Suite 400
                         P.O. Box 64882
                         St. Paul, MN, 55164
                         (651) 215-8960
Male-Father Involvement in Reproductive Health and Parenting– page 2
One indicator of contraceptive use by teenage      Minnesota Resources
males is the Minnesota Student Survey. Similar to  Public health programs and strategies that promote
national data, the older the teenager, the more    male-father involvement in reproductive health
likely he is to have sex.10                        and parenting include:
Disparities                                          • The Minnesota Fathers and Families Network
Nationally, African American teen males initiate       has been in operation since 2003 and is a
sex earlier than Hispanic or white males. Half of      statewide non-profit agency. Visit resources at
black teens report having sex by age 16.  10 
                                                     • The Minneapolis Department of Health and
White youth are 2-3 times more likely to live in a     Family Support in partnership with Fremont
two-parent family than are African American            Community Health Services, Children’s
youth. However, non-resident African American          Hospitals and Clinics and Teenage Medical
fathers are nearly 1½ times more likely to visit       Services works with adolescent African
their children on a weekly basis than non-resident     American males from the North and South
               12                                      side neighborhoods of Minneapolis to increase
white fathers.
                                                       STD testing/treatment, increase condom use,
Economic                                               increase knowledge and change social norms
No economic impact data is available related to        about sexual activity and teen pregnancies.
male-father involvement in reproductive health.      • Dads Make a Difference has two curricula that
                                                       are used in over 70 Minnesota schools related
Interventions                                          to the importance of fathers in the lives of
The Urban Institute’s report, Young Men’s Sexual       children.
and Reproductive Health: Toward a National           • Three teen clinics in Minnesota have joined
Strategy includes a five-step strategy                 together to offer resources for males in
                  13                                   reproductive health. These clinics include
  • Promote sexual health and development.             West Suburban Teen Clinic, the Annex Teen
  • Promote healthy intimate relationships.            Clinic and Teen Age Medical Services.
  • Prevent and control the transmission of STIs,
    including HIV.                                   • “Options for Young Dads” at Carver-Scott
  • Prevent unintended pregnancy.                      Educational Cooperative serves fathers in the
  • Promote responsible fatherhood.                    two counties with educational and legal
Effectiveness of Interventions                       • The Duluth-based Dads and Daughters is a
No Minnesota data is available to document the         national advocacy group with educational
effectiveness of this intervention. A study was        materials and books available.
done on the Wise Guys program in North Carolina
( ). Six-months after              • Martha Farrell Erickson and William Doherty
program entry, male participants had the following     at the University of Minnesota have received
positive outcomes:                                     federal funding to focus on how first time
  • Improved knowledge of sexuality and                fathers are prepared for parenthood.
    consequences of early sexual activity;   
  • Healthier sex role attitudes; and
                                                   Community Awareness
  • Increased communication with parents and
                                                   No research has documented community
                                                   awareness of male-father involvement in
                                                   reproductive health and parenting in Minnesota.
Male-Father Involvement in Reproductive Health and Parenting– page 3
   Minnesota Center for Health Statistics. 2003
   2000 Census data for Minnesota. 2002
   Satcher D. Evolving Health Priorities. Washington DC.
Office of Public Health and Science. 1999.
   2002 National Directory- A Resource Guide to Male
Reproductive Health Programs. Chivers-Grant Institute of
Morehouse College. 2002.
   Where does reproductive health fit into the lives of
adolescent males? Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive
Health. July/Aug. 2003.
   Drennan M. Reproductive health: New perspectives on
men’s participation. Population Reports. 46.1998.
   Becker R. Male involvement and adolescent Pregnancy
prevention. Resource Center for Adolescent Pregnancy
Prevention. Accessed 6-14-04
   Wegner MN, Landry E, Wilkinson D, Tzanis J. Men as
partners in reproductive health: From issues to action.
International Family Planning Perspectives. 24(1):38-42.
   Ndong I, Becker RM, et al. men’s reproductive
health:defining, designing and delivering services.
International Family Planning Perspectives. 25:S53-S55.
    Sonenstein FL, et al. Involving Males in Preventing
Pregnancy: A Guide for Program Planners. Urban Institute.
    National Center on Fathers and Families. Father Presence
   Mott FL. Sons, daughters and father’s absence:
Differentials in father-leaving probabilities and in-home
environments. Journal of Family Issues. 15:97-128. 1994.
   The Urban Institute. Young Men’s Sexual and
Reproductive Health: Toward a National Strategy.
Washington DC