A New Take on Paternity

June 13, 2005 -- -- The French motto "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" has taken on a whole new meaning.

French men want a crack at being pregnant, too, according to a recent survey by Ipsos and a French children's magazine. Thirty-eight percent of French fathers said that if they could become pregnant, they would like the nine-month job.

It's not the most convincing "Oui," however, since 60 percent of the 265 fathers interviewed said they would not have wanted to carry their offspring to term. Two percent were undecided.

Women Vote 'Oui' Too

French women were somewhat supportive of the idea. Forty percent of mothers said they would happily let men deal with a swelling belly.

Ipsos conducted the telephone survey of 531 French parents with children no older than 7 at the end of March. The parents -- 265 fathers and 266 mothers -- were all over the age of 18.

Eighty-six percent of the fathers said they were ready "to take a paternity leave of several months to live their fatherhood more intensely" if it caused "minimal financial impact."

And 71 percent said they were prepared to "take a yearlong sabbatical" or "request to work part time."

In 2002, paternity leave was extended from three to 14 consecutive days in France. More than 40 percent of fathers take that leave.

The survey revealed that 50 percent of French couples interviewed wanted to have two children, while 30 percent said they would like three tots.

Parents in the making will probably have to wait awhile before men don "paternity wear," but until then they can still keep fighting for equality.