Desperate to have a baby - doing IVF - how to choose between donor or "friend"...

(33 Posts)
sophiesiobhan Tue 05-Nov-13 20:20:28

My first mumsnet post - am a newbie.

My sister in law suggested I put this to the wise women of mumsnet.

I'm 41, single, straight but would ideally love to be in a relationship - that's not happening right now and my biological click is ticking.

I've just started IVF and have the option of using a "friend" as a co-parent - he would be on the birth certificate and have legal responsibility etc.

The other option is a sperm donor from a sperm bank in the US. My child would have the option of contacting him when he/she is 18.

Pros of using my friend: DC would have a dad; I would have moral support and possibly financial but he's not wealthy so that may not be the case.

Cons of using my friend: I don't know this guy that well - he has hope that we may become a family and has romantic feelings towards me so his hopes will most likely be shattered.

This is the main dilemma - donor vs friend.

Dilemma no. 2 is whether ot go ahead and try and get pregnant with this round o fIVF or... just freeze any embryos that I get from it.

That's the bare bones, happy to provide more details but didn't want to bore you all stupid in this post...!

Could really use some opinions...

TheSisterInLaw Tue 05-Nov-13 21:09:25

Bumping for my lovely sister-in-law...

<waves at sophiesiobhan>

YDdraigGoch Tue 05-Nov-13 21:17:00

I'd stay away from the friend and keep it impersonal. Unless you want to be linked to this friend, who you don't know that well, forever.

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 21:17:22

I wouldn't go with the friend who wants more. It's not fair, if he is hoping things will develop.

Co-parenting is a great way to bring up a child, so in principle it's the better option, but if it would be at all leading him on, it wouldn't be fair.

My personal feelings on donors are positive, but that's not everyone's choice. I don't see any issue.

FarOverTheRainbow Tue 05-Nov-13 21:20:17

I'd stay away from the friend and use a donor. If he has romantic feelings for you then that's going to be clouding his judgement of the situation and when he realises you don't have them back that could get very sour between you both and then involving a child.

Also your single but have a SIL? Sorry if that's nosey just puzzled me a little

Mondaybaby Tue 05-Nov-13 21:28:41

I think it would be very complicated and could potentially get very messy if you use your 'friend' as a donor especially if he has feelings for you that are not reciprocated. Better, for all concerned including your unborn child to be, to use an anonymous donor. I speak as the mum of dc child.

TheSisterInLaw Tue 05-Nov-13 21:30:23

She's my DH's sister, FarOverTheRainbow... smile

Mondaybaby Tue 05-Nov-13 21:30:32

Far, could the OP's SIL be her brother's wife?

Mondaybaby Tue 05-Nov-13 21:31:14

Ooops, cross post. Sorry.

TheSisterInLaw Tue 05-Nov-13 21:32:18

grin Mondaybaby

sophiesiobhan Tue 05-Nov-13 21:34:53

Thank you all so much for your wise responses. I have been super-direct with my friend and told him that it's only a goer if his main motivation is to have a child, per se, and have tole him that since I expect that we will not live happily ever after as a couple, he needs to be happy with the worst case scenario... I initially asked him to be a 'known' donor, which means no rights and responsibilities. But men (and women!) can see the positive when they choose to, and when it involves romantic projections, I guess. So the leading him on part is reduced by my directness, but, yes, complexities will happen. He is very laid back and quiet and patient, and we have even gone through a co-parenting agreement to outline what we would do in the worst case scenario... But I guess when there is a child involved he may not be so laid back. Growing up without a dad in the picture myself, I feel strongly that if there IS an option, however potentially complex, to give a child a biological father, then I should take it. My friend feels the same and is very sanguine about what might happen, but... hmmm.

Mondaybaby Tue 05-Nov-13 21:40:38

If you use sperm from a reputable sperm bank that is overseen by the HFA, then you know that the donors have been screened and health checked and their sperm washed and checked. If you use a 'friend' who you admit you don't know so well then you don't have the advantage of all those checks. At the very least you'd have to ensure he'd had a recent sexual health check up including HIV and Hepatitis status.

Mondaybaby Tue 05-Nov-13 21:43:32

*HFEA

Mondaybaby Tue 05-Nov-13 21:47:55

It sounds like you have done lots of research. Out of interest, what it's his motivation to do this for you? Is it his romantic interest in you or something else or totally altruistic? If he signed the agreement that you describe, how binding its that legally? For example, if you agree that he will see the baby once a week but then he wants more and overnight visits then can this happen?

sophiesiobhan Tue 05-Nov-13 21:48:26

Thanks Mondaybaby - yes indeedy - he's been throughly screened as the clinic is HFEA registered so he's undergone the same healthchecks. One advantage with my friend as the dad/donor is that he can provide a fresh sample rather than using frozen better success rates with fresh...

Mondaybaby Tue 05-Nov-13 21:55:48

And regarding your dilemma number two, why, if you are desperate to have a baby, would you delay trying to get pregnant this round of IVF?

sophiesiobhan Tue 05-Nov-13 21:55:51

Yes Mondayaby, his main motivation - and I have pushed him on this - is that he wants a child. He also feels, altruistically I suppose that it's good for a child to have a dad, so he is stepping in as a friend. The romantic interest is on top of this, and it is a motivation, but not the main one. I wouldn't take advantage of anyone, however desperate I am. As a co-parent (the IVF clinics don't distinguish between 'coparent' and 'partner) he has rights and responsibilities of being a dad. The coparenting agreement is not legally binding at all, but is a statement of intent that courts will look at. And, my feeling is that if we draft it up together (or I draft and he agrees) we will touch on every potential moot point, from what to feed our child, to schooling, shared residence etc. I would be the primary parent, with decision making rights... My main negative points about my friend are:
- I may want to move to the US one day and having a child with my friend would preclude this.
- he is very quiet and not very dynamic (unlike my brothers...)
- he is not very financially secure. He's solvent just about but if I stop working, he will probably not bring much to the party.

So the main benefits are simply: the child would have a dad, I would have moral support, even if the situation evolves to be complex and stressful...

I know I'm slightly going round in circles! Thank you for being interested!

sophiesiobhan Tue 05-Nov-13 21:57:51

Mondaybaby, re dilemma no. 2, well, my friend is not the ideal father for my child, for reasons outlined above. His main positives are that he is a wiling dad. I guess some part of me still thinks that I have a few months to find a partner I DO want to be with and have a child with... But that's just wishful thinking... and I can't hedge my bets for much longer!

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:00:03

May I ask... Why would you pay for IVF if you choose to go ahead with the friend? Why not, um, do it yourself?

Obviously you don't have to have sex with him. But seems like a lot of money to spend when you know he father?

Alanna1 Tue 05-Nov-13 22:00:36

What does your instinct say? Marginally i'd incline towards better the devil you know.

Make sure your agreement covers relocation - and whatever it says, realise that the child's best interests will be what a court would primarily look too.

Good luck.

sophiesiobhan Tue 05-Nov-13 22:13:01

Thanks Alanna1 - yes good point to spell out relocation in the agremenet.

AlexaChelsea - the main reason for IVF is that I want to get eggs out before they age any more. It might take months for me to get pregnant naturally or with a turkey baster or whatever... and then I could have a miscarriage. So I'd be 43 wishing I'd got my eggs out before they were really old and useless (they deteriorate rapidly after 40). I have friends who have spent 4 years doing IVF only to end up using donor eggs. I feel that I need to harvest 10 eggs or whatever if I can and have some to freeze... So there is logic in there... But yes, it's expensive... I've started the drugs though now, so the train has kinda left the station!

reddaisy Tue 05-Nov-13 22:18:43

I would go with the friend, if you have the chance to bring a DC into the world with a loving father then you should go for it. I see that it could be complicated though. Best of luck whatever you decide.

Mondaybaby Tue 05-Nov-13 22:19:38

Yes, good luck SophieS with what ever you decide to do. You are welcome to pm me if you have any questions about going it alone. I have a gorgeous 3 year old dd as a result of donor iui.

kiriwAnyFuckerwa Tue 05-Nov-13 22:22:31

I would avoid the friend situation because it sounds like it could be v complicated and could tie you to someone/a situation that you don't want to be tied to.

It's difficult enough for two people who were once in love to negotiate shared parenting post-relationship breakdown.

Also if you do meet someone further down the line, they could potentially adopt your child as their own if you used a donor. Not going to be possible with bio dad in the background I'd have thought.

sophiesiobhan Tue 05-Nov-13 22:27:32

Very good point KiriAnyFuckera. I guess I'm a bit chicken to go it alone as my parents aren't in the fold so it'd just be me and I'd worry I'd struggle and be knackered and stressed financially (I'm self-employed) and then not be happy and that may effect my child. But I'm probably fearing the worst... Mondaybaby - I will defo pm you. Thank you!

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