My feed

to access all these features

This board is primarily for those whose children have LGBTQ+ parents to share their personal experiences and advice.

LGBT parents

so - who's my "dad" then?

32 replies

pixie100 · 03/03/2011 15:33

Hi there,

I am in a cp & we are about to have our 1st baby in November.

We have luckily been sucessful using a known donor - we have agreed on minimal contact. none of us want him to take the 'father' role, however we have agreed for him to be around when child wants to know where s/he came from/looks like/any medical issues this will work out in reality, we'll have to wait & see, but we are all open to working together on this.

Does anyone have any direct experience of this?

& what to say when;

  1. the child asks who 'dad' is?


  2. when others ask who the childs' 'dad' is?

    any advice?


OP posts:
wolfhound · 03/03/2011 15:48

Have you decided what names you and CP are using? (e.g. 'Mum' and 'x.')? I have a friend who used a known donor and she uses the term 'dad' for him - he will have fairly little contact too. Perhaps you could just say 'biological dad/father'? Or 'donor dad'? Both cover the concept of 'who is the male progenitor', while providing a bit of distance from 'day-to-day nitty-gritty parent'. But maybe someone else has a better suggestion?

DelGirl · 03/03/2011 15:57

Hello, congratulations Smile

Not the same situation really but it may help. My dd was born after my dh died. I had similar questions in my head before she arrived. She is now 5 and I just answer questions as they arise. I haven't broached it at all. I keep my answers simple and don't elaborate. It seems to be ok thus far. I think you will know what to say when the time comes is all I can say. hth.....good luck x

pixie100 · 03/03/2011 16:06

hi wolfhound,

as partner is French - so she will be Maman & I will be in English - mummy/mum...

with your friend - how did her partner feel about bio/donor dad being called dad? did this impact on her role?

I think donor dad sounds like a good idea though so thanks for that.


OP posts:
jasper1980 · 03/03/2011 16:06

Hiya, exactly the same situation as you....know donor for both ds and dd(4 and 20 months old).

We meet for lunch 2-3 times a year with our donor.

My son has asked where his dad is sometimes. We tell him there was a man who helped us make him, but described him as a donor (he knows who he is). We told him a dad is someone who lives with you, like his two mummies. We also found books helpful here too to shop him all kinds of different families. Some just have mums, some just have dads, some have both etc. He is happy with this for now.

My advice is answer honestly in an age appropriate way as questions arise. Our donor is much like yours in that he is at hand to say whu he donated, medical family history etc as the kids grow older. It was importnant to us that they can access that information. He is not a "dad" they don't have one. He was a man who donated sperm, so is thus a donor. As they grow older and we can explain what a biological father is then we will cross that bridge too.

We found people were curious, again we refer to him as donor or his name. I can honestly say no-one has ever refered to him as our childrens dad. When people as, say you used a donor.

Congratualtions and don't worry as things happen and your baby grows up, you will know what to saySmile

jasper1980 · 03/03/2011 16:07

show! not shopBlush

pixie100 · 03/03/2011 16:08

hi delgirl.
thanks for your message.

omg. that must have been/must be hard...

I like the idea of answering questions as they arise & not elaborating. I guess children ask as they need to know & if they seem happy with answers there is no need to say more - until they ask again.

thanks again,

pixie x

OP posts:
wolfhound · 03/03/2011 16:10

Hi Pixie - friend is a single parent, so hasn't arisen yet - no long-term partner around. Maman and Mum/Mummy sounds lovely. We have close French/English family friends. So wish my DCs could grow up bilingual like theirs.

pixie100 · 03/03/2011 16:11

THANK YOU x x x x x

I'm sure I'm worrying far too much (already) !!!!!

It's SO great to hear of others in same situation.

I'd be very happy to say donor & that baby has 2 mums. sounds honest & just right x

thanks again.


OP posts:
pixie100 · 03/03/2011 16:13

Wolfhound - yes we decided on this so that each of us has a mothering role -i.e. me the british language/culture etc ... & my partner the French language/culture. so we'll see how that works out.

OP posts:
jasper1980 · 03/03/2011 16:25

you are welcome, feel free to pm me if you want to chat furtherSmile

hamerse · 03/03/2011 21:44

we are in a very similar position to you.

Our daughter is 5 and our son is 2. Our daughter knows she has what we refer to as a special donor daddy. i am guessing our son will refer to him in the sme way.

they never see him, I email once a year, but when the kids are 16 / 18 if they weant contact with him they can.

so far its working fab for us :)

pixie100 · 04/03/2011 17:42

Hi hamerse,

thanks for your post.

we're not sure yet on how much/little contact for donor & child to have.

We're lucky that our donor is happy for us to decide on this.

I'm torn between the donor being a person the child knows about & sees (even not very often) or keeping him (donor) away until they are older i.e. 16/18 etc...? I really can't decide which is best!

can I ask you your reasons that they never see him? pm me if you can?



OP posts:
hester · 04/03/2011 22:33

Hi pixie

Our donor is also an involved father to our dd. He pays child support and sees her every week (staying over every other weekend).

It works really well for dd, who has a lovely relationship with her dad. It can be hard work for the adults, though! From my experience, just two words of warning:

  1. Your donor may be happy right now for you to decide on the level of contact, but you - and he - may be surprised at how his feelings could change after the birth. Producing a child is a VERY intense experience. We signed a contract with our donor, which isn't legally binding but was very useful in recording our agreement about the minimum guarantees we would all sign up to. We have been able to be more flexible and generous in practice than the contract sets out, but on the odd occasion when he has wanted more than we want to give, it's been really useful to remind him of the agreement that was made.

2. You may well find that your child has their own ideas about the relationship with their biological father. IME, most children go through a period of intense interest in their origins and family relationships; a bit later, most children want to fit in with their peers. How will you and your dp feel if your dc insists on calling their father 'dad'? Or asks to see him more frequently? It may not happen, but it's worth discussing now, so you can present a united front when it does.

All best xx
Slambang · 04/03/2011 23:16

Hi Congratulations Smile
It's not always true that children will ask when they are ready to learn. Ds's best friend doesn't have a dad (I'm friends with his mum.) She wants to keep info about his bio father away from her son for various good reasons and has never once mentioned anything about who his dad is. Surprisingly, her son has never once asked her if he has a dad or who he is. He's 12 now so it's not like he doesn't understand that a man was involved in his creation!
She is quite happy with this as she thinks it means her ds isn't worried about it. But I have overheard him making up fantastical stories to his mates about his amazing dad who is going to buy him a car etc etc. When he was younger I heard another child ask him if he had a dad and I had to interrupt and change the subject because he looked so distressed and uncomfortable.

Another family I know in similar circumstances gave their daughter the basic facts - your dad's name is X, he lives in Y and he's a policeman. It was enough for her to deal with all those school conversations - what does your dad do etc etc

I can't help but feel a bit of honest information before a child needs to ask would help along the way. The word dad means what you learn it means when you are tiny. If for your child 'dad' means the name of the person she or he sees once every 5 years it's not going to be confusing for him/her and it's a word that other kids can relate to.

pixie100 · 05/03/2011 07:29

Thnx for warnings.
We have a contract. I know its not legal, but yes it shows us all what we are happy/not happy with & has been a good process to write.

Luckily our donor has donated before so I believe he can get what he needs/wants from all of us...

I'm not sure how we'll react if child wants to see him more... I'm hoping that-like jasper1980 said- it will more about how we explain it& make it part of child's life. But we are open to be flexible.its part of the reasons we decided on using a known donor.

Sambag- I think you're probably right - whatever status we give 'dad' from the beginning is what the child grows up with& is their life. I'm feeling that we'll probably say what jasper1980 mentioned abive about two mummies &donor dad kind of thing.

I've got a few months to think about it. It's a very interesting topic & its great to hear everyone's ideas & to see what does/doesn't work...

OP posts:
nobodyimportant · 05/03/2011 07:47

I have no experience of this kind of thing but it occurs to me that if you call him "donor dad" and your DC calls him that when talking to their friends, then some of the friends might start asking difficult questions. That could put your DC in a difficult situation if they don't know how to answer, and if they answer very honestly when young you might find some of the other parents don't like it. I wouldn't mind personally with my DC knowing, but some parents have really strong views.

I think if he's called "Dad" and as someone said above that will mean what they experience it to mean to them, then that will be a concept other children can cope with easily. They are very unlikely to be the only children with a "Dad" who they don't live with.

If it helps at all my eldest has a friend at school with two Mums and it doesn't seem to have caused any issues (well apart from messy relationship breakdown but that can happen to anyone). In their case I've absolutely no idea about the father, he's never been mentioned afaik.

pixie100 · 05/03/2011 11:36

Hi nobodyimportant -

Yes I'm torn really - I don't want to give the title 'dad' as I belive that a dad is someone who has that role & as there are 2 mummies - there is no 'dad' as such -

but then, yes, donor dad is a title too. so .. gosh -
who knows - I do find that I go round & round in circles.... :o)

we've got a while to work something out & all the thoughts from everyone here have been great - lots of issues I hadn't considered & it's good to hear.


OP posts:
Clarnico · 05/03/2011 11:50

I think the advantage of 'donor dad' is that 'dad' has an adjective which specifies the relationship, and sets it up as a different sort of dad, iyswim. It downplays the relationship so the child doesn't feel like they have a father who is letting them down, or not involved enough. I'm not making this clear but I hope you get what I mean. I think 'dad' as part of the way to refer to him is a good idea - it's not too cold or clinical, but with the right phrasing it could say 'person who helped us have you'.

What about something like 'helper dad'? And then you clarify it by saying 'because he helped we two mummies have you'.

pixie100 · 06/03/2011 18:30

Hi Clarnico,
yes I understand completely - I guess it's better if child knows the role & is not confused. If he's there & called that then they know - however, others have said that they don't have contact & this works fine too.

so perhaps what Ive taken from chatting on here to people is that there is no right or wrong way really - just to be consistant in what we decide & to be as clear as possible in our minds about the decision we make.

thanks for your post & to everyone else - my dp & I have had some very good chats since I've posted on here & its been great - thanks again.


OP posts:
drivingmisscrazy · 07/03/2011 22:30

As many of you know, we have an involved known donor, who DD calls 'daddy'. I think that you are - perhaps - assuming that you have more control over your children's reactions/strategies/coping mechanisms than you do! I think what's important is the agreement you've made, not what you call him - my point is that you might think of him as 'donor dad' (not a phrase I like, personally) but your kid is likely enough, at particular points during his/her growing up to reject this idea. At some stage, the question of the absence of a father in a parental role will come up - and you will find a good way to explain this and help with it. Start early: Todd Parr's The Family Book is great for very small children, and introduces ideas about diversity in a fun way.

LeninGrad · 07/03/2011 22:41

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pixie100 · 09/03/2011 13:28

thanks everyone - I think I;m thinking (worrying) about it all far too much..

like drivingmisscrazy said about the control thing is probably true -

I'm going to start trying to relax over this & thanks about the book suggesting - i had no idea there were so many great ones out there.

I'll definately use these later on -

for now I'm going to ; slow down - remember to breathe - take it easy & enjoy being pregnant ! ! ! !


OP posts:
drivingmisscrazy · 10/03/2011 20:26

pixie - I think taking it as it comes is the best plan. Parenting is all about making it up and problem-solving on the hoof. Planning only seems to work (sporadically) for practical arrangements!

DD just spend 3.5 hours on a ferry yelling 'I want my other mummy', much to the bemusement of the elderly caravanners Wink

kandle · 11/03/2011 17:06

My civil partner and I are building a scrap book where we will write about our decision of why/how we chose our donor.

We will talk about him and try to "normalize" it as much as possible. We want baby to have a strong sense of identity and confidence in who they are.

As previously said, it will probably develop as our child grows up. We also decided to call ourselves mummy and Mummy and this may change as baby grows up.

dogscatsandbabies · 21/03/2011 09:09

I'm also in the process of creating a scrap book like kandle, having delivered a beautiful baby girl on 7th March. I want to put in lots of photos of us and the extended family and friends, as well as the information we have on the donor (anonymous through a clinic but we have some details) and how we feel about the wonderful gift he has given us.

I would hope to use the scrap book as a bedtime story from a very young age so the story of 'where I came from' is always there rather than needing to be explained at a certain point in time. No idea if this will work but its the best idea I have!

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.