Recently, I was contacted by a gay male acquaintance via FB. A lesbian couple (close friends of his from college) had asked him to be their known donor and he was looking for input on what he should be thinking/asking about. While this is the first time I’ve been asked this particular question, I’m a very open person and I’ve been approached a few other times for various lesbian TTC, parenting, coming out, and general assisted reproduction and fertility questions. I think it goes hand in hand with the invisible sign that appears over my head alerting lost people all over the world that they can ask me for directions. Seriously, it happens so often we’re not even surprised anymore. Anyhow, back to this instance. Here’s some of what I wrote to him:
“I’m honored you would think of me. The fact that you are taking the time to think it through makes it obvious that you are mature enough to understand what is being asked of you.
Strawberry and I did not use a known donor, which is generally the term that this type of situation gets. We used anonymous donor sperm, which we purchased frozen from a bank. I was inseminated by a doctor. We have a detailed medical history and some personality questionnaire type info about the donor in addition to stats about his physical characteristics and education. We do not know his identity. When Curly turns 18 he can contact the bank and ask for the name and contact info of the donor and IF, at that time, the donor chooses, the info will be released to Curly.
For a known donor situation it is imperative that the expectations of all parties involved are laid out and agreed upon up front. Do they want your identity to be a secret to the child? To their families? Do they want you to be present in their lives in an “uncle” capacity? Do they want you to be a parent? Do you ever plan to have kids of your own someday? What about your current/ future partners? If so, how does that impact your decision? As you know, none of these are easy topics.
Once those questions have been answered, there are additional ones to consider if you decide to proceed. You will certainly need to speak with a lawyer (one for each of you, I can recommend ours if you need) and have a contract drawn up. Then there are the logistical questions and medical testing. Getting pregnant isn’t always easy or fast, you would probably want to talk about a specific length of time for trying and then say you can reevaluate. Do they want more than one child?
As I said, we did not pursue this route, but we do have a few friends who have created their families in this way and a few other friends who at one point were pursuing parenthood with a known donor but the situation did not work out due to fertility issues. All but one of these families have an open ongoing relationship with the donor as a special uncle type family member and the donor’s identity is openly part of their family story. In another instance, the known donor changed his mind after the child was born due to unforeseen circumstances and no longer wishes to be part of the family’s life. As you can imagine, this isn’t what they were hoping and planning for and they are very sad about the outcome.
This is quite a lot to digest for you, but again, I commend you for taking the time to think it through. And if you have any additional questions I’m happy to help. If you’d like, I could try to reach out to my friends to see if anyone’s known donor would be willing to email with you.”
He has yet to reply, but I know I’ve given him a lot to think about. Would any of your known donors be willing to email with him, just in case he wants that option?