I have just recently got your book. Thanks for all the info. I know it will be helpful along the way.
I am a lesbian in a committed relationship with my girlfriend for three years now. We are both very much in love and both of us want to be parents together. However, we live in Ireland and gay people have no rights as parents, adoption etc. My girlfriends wants to be the biological parent however she wants the donor to be an old friend of hers who I have not met. She wants her friend to have an active role in our child’s life.
I’m very uncomfortable about this and would prefer an unknown donor, for all the usual reasons. My girlfriend hates the idea of that and so we are in stalemate. I am not against the child knowing who Dad is. However I do not want to trust a complete stranger. I am feeling powerless and sidelined. I am being asked to be a nanny for the rest of my life with no consideration for how this effects me. My girlfriend does not see my point and thinks that I’m being selfish. She says that this guy will be a “good boy” and do what he is told, even though he has expressed to her that he wants to be a father. She says that I will be an equal partner even though I would have no legal rights and the child.
I am not asking that you solve the problem for us however I am finding it very difficult to find decent information on both sides. I would like to talk to people who have been through this, how they compromised, what the outcomes were, what were the actual agreements they drew up, what are the real realities of both sides? How are the children affected? Although there is information out there I find it vague and am frustrated. Where can I talk to people directly? Where are the forums, etc. as I have been searching in vain. Thank you for your time and your experience.
Sometimes prospective parents get so caught up in the logistics of becoming parents that real discussions about actually being parents for the rest of their lives become low priority. There are red flags all over this situation. If you choose to proceed, do so with EXTREME CAUTION.
There are countless documented cases of women whose pregnant partner promised they would raise the child equally, but then changed her mind and the non-biological parent had no legal standing. One of those women is Lisa Coons-Anderson featured in my book (pp. 80-81). She now hosts a website to support other unrecognized parents: We 2 Have Parental Rights.
Other stories about non-bio moms are in the anthology, HomeFronts: Controversies in Nontraditional Parenting (Alyson Publications, 2000).
There is also an important document that is endorsed by numerous LGBT organizations including COLAGE, and you can find it on their website: “Protecting Families: Standards for Child Custody in Same-sex Relationships.”
In addition to your concerns about defining your parenting role, your question is not really about making a decision between a “known donor” vs. “anonymous donor.” The prospective donor is “unknown” to you. While it is possible to have a successful co-parenting arrangement with a known donor, without meeting him there is no way you can determine if this arrangement could work for your family over the next 20+ years.
This situation is very suspicious. A mature adult knows that co-parenting should never be taken lightly. Why isn’t your girlfriend making the effort to introduce you to her friend? Why isn’t her friend demanding to meet you before he decides to enter into this life-altering agreement with you?
The fact that your partner is challenging you with a game of trust suggests there are some much bigger issues you need to look at before you resume discussions about raising kids together. If you truly want to negotiate a parenting arrangement with your girlfriend, make an appointment immediately with a couples therapist who has experience working with lesbian couples. I’d say chances are high, however, that the demanding, controlling, and irrational behavior your girlfriend is exhibiting now is only a preview of how she will treat you after there are children in the picture.