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Involved donor

(5 Posts)
partenope Wed 08-May-13 09:55:08


Me and my partner are now searching for a donor, and this is an hmm, interesting process. We did lots of research earlier, but inevitably perhaps, some questions are being pinned down only now ? Both of us want to be on the child?s birth certificate (we are not cp yet, but planning to do so before going any further), but on the other hand we would like our donor to be involved (to some degree) in the child?s life. We feel it would be important for the child to have full knowledge of his/her origins and possibly, some contact with the biological dad.

The question is how much contact would be good?. Of course, this is such a difficult question, as the donor will be a complete stranger to us. Nevertheless, we?ve realized we need to make some commitments while talking to potential donors (not to mention a donor agreement). We?ve thought for example that meeting/visit once a month plus e-mail/telephone contact would be good ? no idea whether it?s too much/too little?

Would you share your experience with involved donors? How does it work for you? Is it possible to find a donor dad who accepts, he?s not a legal father but still is ready to be involved to some degree in the child?s life?

rhetorician Fri 10-May-13 22:58:40

Yes, it is, but you really really need to talk things through in terms of assumptions. We have involved donor who sees our dds about 6 times a year. He is fine, if anything not quite interested enough in them as they get older, but you also have to bear in mind the potential impact of other family members. His parents also see the girls, and this is slightly more tricky, although of course they have no legal claim. If you are both named on birth cert then that makes things clearer than they are for us ( we don't live in UK). It can be hard work, it's a big thing to deal with, but overall I think that it is a positive thing for your child/ren. If you undertake this arrangement, you need to be clear about expectations, but also to recognise that things have to change and adapt as everyone moves on. If you think you just want more than one child, you need to think about that. Ours are full siblings, and I think it would have been difficult if their father hadn't been willing to donate again. Also, if you want involvement, you do need to respect his wishes to an extent and accept that you cannot set the whole agenda. This can be hard, even without any parental role as such, e.g. Our girls' dad bought dd1 her first bike.

Btw, we didn't know our donor before starting to talk to him about the process and it has worked out, but you need to be very clear about what you will accept. It might take a while to find the right bloke. What are his motives? Is he planning on donating to other couples? Etc.

Our dds are now 4 and 18 months and we have managed without anything worse than a little stress and tension so far.

Devora Fri 10-May-13 23:16:58

OUr 7 y-o has an involved father. We spent a long, long time trying to find the right donor (years!). It's not easy: our experience was that those men who are prepared to have any kind of ongoing tie are usually those that want to be a father, and then they usually want to have more frequent contact. It is also very hard to know how your child will feel - the most important person - what might it mean to give them a dad, but then only allow restricted contact?

I'm not suggesting there's any right or wrong answers to these questions, by the way. In the end we found a donor who we thought (rightly) would be a great dad, and would deal with us with integrity, and would be flexible and keep the child's needs paramount. He wanted a lot more than we originally envisaged: to be on the birth certificate, to pay child support, to have frequent contact (one day a week when small, now every other weekend). In the end we went with it because he was by far the sanest potential father we found, and the most honourable.

It has been mostly good, but not always easy. He is a fantastic father. I can't deny that the (pretty generous) child support and regular childcare has been a huge help. He has absolutely stuck to the terms of the deal and not played any silly games with us.

There have been tensions, too (though all good and amiable at the moment). Now that I work FT and dd is at school, every other weekend feels like a lot of time apart. But overall, I think we made a good choice for her.

I'm not saying our way works for everyone, but I do have this advice:
- really think about what the child might need, and how you would handle different scenarios (what if his feelings change and he wants more or less contact? what if the child wants more or less contact?)
- force yourselves to discuss the difficult issues, like money
- have a contract. It won't be legally enforceable, but it is very useful to have a record of what your deal is, and hugely helpful to make yourselves talk it through.

Best of luck!

rhetorician Sat 11-May-13 10:29:02

I agree by the way with the tension between roles, e.g. Father, but restricted. Ours has no parental role and no financial obligation, but I do worry about the impact of his limitd role on them. But at the same time it is the reality that they know and so far they cope well. It's more that he isn't very interested in young kids and spends time messing on his phone rather than playing with them and giving them his attention when he is here that is the issue. But that's a personality thing that couldn't be predicted. Good luck!

partenope Thu 16-May-13 21:01:03

Rhetorician, Devora – thank you so much for sharing your experiences and good advice!

The remark about the potential fathers family was especially interesting – we havent thought about that! Indeed, having an involved donor may also mean his relatives to deal with (grandparents, aunts and uncles), and this can be both very beneficial and work well for everyone concerned as well as problematic…
I guess we still need to give it a good thought – first and foremost, what would be good for our child… So far we can see that it will be a very hard work to find a right person (we are using one of the donor contact websites). We, too, noticed that the majority of those guys who are prepared to be involved, want to be legal fathers as well. We are not sure if such an option would work for us, as we may be relocating to another country in a few years (a shame really, for there are a few guys who seem really sensible, but well, we dont think we could commit that way) We know this complicates the whole matter even more... As for now, we are going to keep on looking!

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