I’m Donating Sperm To My Single Lady Friend

donating spermTwo weeks ago, Francesca told me she had been going to a fertility clinic and while she was looking through the database of anonymous donors, she thought of me.

She then asked if I would be the genetic contributor to her future child.

I was flattered, but this wasn’t the first conversation we had had on the subject. Starting perhaps five years ago, as Francesca entered her mid-30s, we had spoken several times about how much she wanted children despite that she was single. She thought I’d be a suitable donor. Though these had been idle conversations over drinks, she was ready to move forward and wanted my answer within the week.

When confronted with the decision years ago, I had answered without really thinking about the ramifications. Call it pride or hubris, I was confident in my genes and wanted to pass them on.

But it was different now. I know I want children and am looking for someone with which to do so. No longer quite as carefree, I had to consider what my future partner or children would think of this. And how was I going to feel knowing there was a child out there with my DNA, that might look like me, but that wasn’t mine, even though I wanted children?

I spoke with my friends and family trying to hash out the right thing to do. One of my closest friends gave me the best advice, telling me to listen to my gut, that a decision like this couldn’t be decided by reasoning alone. My mother was excited by the proposition, but said that any future partner of mine that had a problem with this arrangement was likely not someone whom I should be with anyway. As for the reaction of my imaginary future offspring, this is the 21st century and unconventional families are becoming the new normal.

My gut said yes, so I sent Francesca an email saying I would donate my sperm so that she could have a child.

Our largest obstacle was that I lived in New York and she in San Francisco. The whole process could be done in two days, she said, and she would fly me out depending on my schedule. Spring break was coming up, which would be the best time for me before summer. She sent me information on legal counsel and I set up an appointment with the clinic during the latter half of my break.

I arrived in San Francisco on a Wednesday evening. Francesca and I went to dinner and discussed everything we hadn’t already over the phone. We talked about what the next day was going to look like with the various counseling sessions and tests, and we went over the consent forms and other paper work. We said goodnight and the next morning I went to the clinic.

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  • Andrea

    My first reaction was to say, “GOOD for you! An incredibly selfless act to help out a dear friend, you are great!”

    But I wonder: did you leave out the legal technicalities in this article or were they just not discussed? What if at some point down the road you want to exert your parental rights? Can you do that? What if she decides that you are, after all, this kid’s father and need to pony up financially? Can she do that?

    I read this article with a warm feeling, but there is the analytical side of me that wonders if the legal issues have been worked out.

  • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

    I want more info ! I want this to be a series! This is so very exciting and how wonderful for you and Francesca! Congrats

    • Blooming_Babies

      I agree, it’s an interesting and most often undiscussed topic.

    • alice

      agreed! we need followups on this one!

      (and am i the only one who was soooo hoping this story turned into a Big Chill *donation* ??)

  • Matt Lightner

    Andrea – We both have lawyers and a contract that ensures she has can’t demand alimony and I have no custody rights.

    • Cee

      Thank you for answering this, Matt. The article seemed to leave some things I was curious about unanswered when it came to what would happen if she conceived, such as child support and custody. I am happy that you did this for your friend, I was just curious about how some future legal issues would be handled. I hope you do update us on how things go.

    • Andrea

      Then I am back to the “you are great” comment ;)

      And I concur with Eva, we want more of this!!!!

    • Tinyfaeri

      That answered my question, too, so here’s the: “What a good friend! That’s a hugely awesome and selfless gift to give someone, good for you.” :-)

    • Lastango

      I place no confidence in contracts of this sort. IMO there is a substantial risk that a court will sweep your agreement aside if she falls on hard times, and needs money. You’re the father, and they know who you are. Any father-type things you do in the meantime (like visiting or communicating with the child, buying gifts, etc.) make your position worse. If such a case ever gets to court, it will be construed that (1) by your actions, you yourself have already torn up the contract, and (2) the mother had not standing to contract away the child’s right to support.

      The court’s view is that if you don’t pay, the cost falls back on society. That’s why even men who can prove through paternity tests that a child is not theirs are not allowed to stop paying support.

  • Cee

    Hmm. If I were you, I would not leave things up in the air. Like Andrea, at first I was very “Yay you” but, when I was trying to conceive (I am a lesbian and was looking into fertility clinics), I never considered friends donating because it left too much in the air. I wanted something pretty much sealed shut with only my child being able to find their donor if they wanted to when they were older. Having a friend donate, though some offered, seemed murky for either side as a friend donor could want to exert parental rights whenever some kind of paternal instinct kicked in or they felt I was doing something they didn’t agree with the person that now held 50% of their DNA. Also, I had read an article about a lesbian couple who had a friend donate sperm to them and now he is being sued for child support. I mean, he donated illegally so that could play a role, but still, there often are unaddressed technical issues that come with donating sperm to a friend. A lot of the decision making seems to be left up to your friend, which is awesome. I hope it stays that way if she manages to conceive with your sperm and that you guys work up some legal agreement to cement that.

  • CrazyFor Kate

    Good for you, and the best of luck to you, Francesca and the future child.

  • Katia

    It doesn’t sound like you’ve thought much about this in a responsable way. Other than “whatever francesca wants.” Also do you have a dad and how would you feel if your dad only wanted to see you “if Francesca wants”
    This is just weird to me. Anon donors even have issues but this is even more complicated

    • allisonjayne

      But he’s not the father or dad, he’s the donor.

  • Lurkingman

    A lady friend once made the same request of me, but my gut told me “absolutely not.”

    In the UK, written statements of intent are not legally binding and the mother could certainly stick the biological father for child support whenever she chose.

    Not saying that it wasn’t a good idea in your case though, these things cannot be assessed by rule of thumb, but on a case to case basis. And if we go into the realms of the distant hypothetical… perhaps if I thought that both I am my ladyfriend had great genes that should be passed on I would have agreed inspite of the potential legal quagmire.

  • Joe

    Be careful if she tries to collect child support for this child. In addition, the state may ask you to help pay for her child if she ends up applying for public assistance and puts your name as the father. Recommend talking to a lawyer and write up legal papers to protect yourself in case something like this happens. Otherwise, this could screw you in the long run.

    There was a story online where a guy donated sperm to a lesbian couple in response to a Craigslist ad with no expectations of anything more than being a sperm donor. She had a child and applied for welfare later due to financial hardship. The state came after him because he was the father, and no contract or legal paperwork was prepared.
    Not sure how sperm banks legally get the potential donors financial liability protection from future child support/alimony claims, but this guy definitely doesn’t have his ducks in a row. This is something a lawyer needs to chime in on.

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