Children of the 90s fathers make an extremely valuable contribution to our research. For example, over 2,000 fathers attended our most recent Focus on Fathers 1 clinic visit. We continue to focus even more on fathers — not only biological fathers, but also those who take on the role of parent.
If you are a Children of the 90s father, this is a great opportunity for you to take a more active role in one of the world's most important long-term health research projects. Over 3,000 fathers have enrolled into the study in their own right but we would like every dad to take part! Please read on to find out more.
How to enrol
To enrol as a Children of the 90s father please print and complete the enrolment form. You can complete this form even if you think you may already be enrolled.
Please send your completed forms to firstname.lastname@example.org or Children of the 90s, Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Bristol BS8 2BN.
Further information for fathers
Your son or daughter may have been taking part in the Children of the 90s since the early 90s. Some have been more involved than others. It doesn't matter how much or how little involvement your child has had in the study: we would still like you to take part.
You and your partner may have completed several (possibly many!) questionnaires about your child since they were born. However, the study is ever expanding and we are now focusing in more detail on you. We hope the question and answer section below will explain why we are doing this now.
- The study has been going on for many years. Why do you want to enrol me now?
- If I enrol, what happens then? What will taking part involve?
- Where does the visit take place?
- Will you want my DNA?
- I am not the biological father of the study child. Are you still interested in me?
- What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?
- What are the possible benefits of taking part?
- How secure will my information be?
- Will anyone else know that I am taking part?
- Who has approved this study?
- What happens if I enrol and then change my mind in the future?
- What plans do you have for fathers in the future?
- I have more questions. Who can I ask?
The study has been going on for many years. Why do you want to enrol me now?
Fathers have always been part of the study and we recognise their vital impact and influence on the health and development of the children. Until now we have relied on the mother to pass on information to their partner but we would now like to approach you directly. Many fathers have already said how keen they are to be involved in their own right.
In the course of the Children of the 90s project, parents have provided information about themselves as well as about their children. This not only enables us to look at how family life affects the development of the children, but also to study parents themselves. We now have specific funding to look at fathers in more detail.
If I enrol, what happens then? What will taking part involve?
Filling in the registration form just gives us permission to contact you or send you mail directly. You will be asked separately about taking part in different areas of the study. In particular, we are currently running a visit specifically for fathers and we would like to invite you to come to a visit over the next few months. We will also send you a questionnaire to complete shortly after this. All Children of the 90s activities are entirely voluntary.
Where does the visit take place?
The visit will be at Oakfield House in Clifton, Bristol. We really do appreciate you giving up your time to come to this visit. If you are unable to come to Oakfield House, but would like to take part in the research, we will be offering home visits towards the end of the study. We will be able to do all of the measurements and tests at your home except the bone scans – it is not possible to carry the machines needed to do these outside of the clinic.
Will you want my DNA?
In short, Yes! We want to learn more about you as a father. Looking at your DNA will help us to study how your genes affect your behaviour and lifestyle, and how this affects the family environment. Your DNA will also enable us to investigate factors affecting your own health and help us to focus on the genetic aspects of men's health. Please note that whether or not you are the biological parent of the study child your DNA will still be useful and valuable to this part of the study.
We also want to learn more about the influence of parents' DNA on the child. One of the main aims of the Children of the 90s is to look at children's genes and their environment to see how they interact to affect health and development. Each child's genes come from both mother and father, so the value of the genetic information is increased greatly if we are able to look at both parents. Genes can have different effects depending on whether they come from the mother or father. DNA from parents will enable us to explore these differences. This is why — when looking at complex conditions such as asthma, obesity or diabetes --- we need to look at DNA from parents as well as children.
Many parents have already kindly donated a small blood sample, including over 1400 fathers and partners. We would like to increase the numbers of parents taking part in these vital areas of our research. We will send out further information about the various studies as they begin so you can decide if you want to take part. Everything is completely voluntary and we will always ask your consent for relevant areas.
I am not the biological father of the study child. Are you still interested in me?
Absolutely yes! We are equally interested in both biological and non-biological fathers as all father figures have an influence on their children.
What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?
The main disadvantage is giving up your time to fill in questionnaires or travelling to our centre to give us a blood sample. We will try to make it as easy as possible for you to visit us by being flexible about appointment times and covering your travelling expenses. Nothing is compulsory and you are not committed to take part in any further activities even if you return the completed enrolment form.
What are the possible benefits of taking part?
It is not intended that there will be any direct benefit to your health by taking part in our research. However, if you attend our centre to give a blood sample for example, we will give you a letter to give to your GP if your haemoglobin, cholesterol, glucose or blood pressure are outside the normal ranges.
How secure will my information be?
The information we collect from you will be stored for use only by researchers from Children of the 90s and their approved research colleagues. The research data is labelled with just a code number, so it cannot be linked to you. Your personal details are stored separately and securely and not available to those looking at the data. This means you can be sure all your information will be held confidentially and will only be used for research purposes. See the ethics section for more information.
Will anyone else know that I am taking part?
Any communication between you and the study would be confidential and we would not tell anyone else, including your partner or study child(ren).
Who has approved this study?
We are committed to respecting your rights, safety and dignity, and we only take part in research that meets the highest ethical standards. This research project has been approved by independent experts to confirm that we follow that commitment, in particular:
- The ALSPAC Executive Committee, which is a group of the senior researchers and managers who work in Children of the 90s.
- The Children of the 90s Law & Ethics Committee, who are an advisory group with researchers, lawyers and study parents who are there to protect your interests as participants.
- The NHS NorthWest 5 Research Ethics Committee, an independent group who are there to protect your safety, rights, well-being and dignity
- More information about ethical approval in Children of the 90s
What happens if I enrol and then change my mind in the future?
You are free to withdraw at any time. Just let us know and we will make the necessary changes. Your decision will not affect the participation of anyone else in the study.
What plans do you have for fathers in the future?
We hope to obtain more research funds to continue collecting information from fathers just as we have been doing for the children and mothers for a long time now. The mothers are currently being invited to take part in similar clinics and, should you decide to enrol, we will invite you to the new Focus on Fathers clinic.
I have more questions. Who can I ask?
If you have any further questions about this research, please contact our Participation Team by phoning 0117 331 0010, texting 'FOF' and your name to 07789 753 722 or by emailing email@example.com.