The Testosterone Tradeoff: Hormone Decrease Makes Better Fathers

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It’s official: having a baby will lower your testosterone. If you’re a man, of course. And while this may seem scary and vaguely emasculating, it’s actually a good thing, according to a new study by researchers at Northwestern University.  While testosterone is good for some activities, like competing for a mate, it’s not great for other activities, like nurturing a newborn baby.

From the abstract:

In species in which males care for young, testosterone (T) is often high during mating periods but then declines to allow for caregiving of resulting offspring. This model may apply to human males, but past human studies of T and fatherhood have been cross-sectional, making it unclear whether fatherhood suppresses T or if men with lower T are more likely to become fathers. …Our findings suggest that T mediates tradeoffs between mating and parenting in humans, as seen in other species in which fathers care for young. They also highlight one likely explanation for previously observed health disparities between partnered fathers and single men.

Testosterone levels plunged even lower depending on how involved the father is with child rearing. Unlike previous studies, this one followed a group of 624 Filipino men for 4.5 years, a period of time that allowed researchers to clearly test hormone levels before and after fatherhood.

It’s important to note that unlike mothers, who undergo a major physical change with the birth of a child, testosterone changes only affect fathers who are actively involved in the life of their child.


Matt

Raises an interesting question for me. As a foster family, we sometimes have 1-2 kids, sometimes don't. Should I be hitting the gym hard when they leave to take full advantage of a testosterone boost? :)

robyn ann goldstein

OK. so I am at this party. someone comes up to me and says, do you know the difference between a true scientist and a real journalist. And I say- of course! It is a matter of the kind of tradeoff.

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Why don't these researchers deal with the simplest and most obvious explanation, which is:

(1) caring for babies results in sleep deprivation, and
(2) sleep deprivation reduces testosterone production?

These are already proven, causative factors, and it's possible that they completely explain the whole phenomenon.

Nick

I wonder if there have ever been any studies that show if marriage lowers testosterone too. I know many guys who seem to lose quite a bit of manliness the moment they say "I DO".

kuchiyose

I've read a lot of story of fatherhood. it changes their body figure, Increased abdominal fat, Rudimentary breast development (man-boobs), Low or zero sperm count. yeah their testosterone levels drop down! get your Testosterone levels back up to where they should be. And the best way to do that is a program of Testosterone Replacment Therapy (TRT).
This can be achieved in a number of ways, such as short- and long-term injections, skin patches, implants, capsules and tablets, creams, gels.. using testosterone replacement therapy. creams like Testoforte plus natural are becoming far more popular forms of treatment because of how easy it is to change your dose and the ease and convenience of application. you can visit their website http://www.testoforte.com