Donors & Co-parenting

Sperm Donors

If you wish to be a sperm donor, there are two basic options: to be an unknown donor, or be known.

An unknown donor is someone who has donated sperm essentially anonymously and is not known to the parents of the child, or to the child. Obviously, such donations are collected at fertility clinics. In Queensland, donors cannot be completely anonymous. A donor must agree to be known to the child when they turn 18, and are asked to provide information on their personal characteristics and medical history. The reason for this is the acknowledgement that children often want to know about their donor, and their biological heritage.

A known donor is someone the parents know, often a friend but also sometime someone the parents have made contact through acquaintances or websites. Known donors usually expect to have some contact with the child, and the level and type of contact should be agreed beforehand. Known donors can donate through a fertility clinic, in which case they will waive any parental rights or obligations. If the donation is not done through a fertility clinic then you need to make sure you and the parents are very clear that you will not be a parent, and will not be recorded on the birth certificate. Consultation with a lawyer is advised.

Egg Donors

An egg donor is usually required in a surrogacy arrangement. An egg donor is also required when a woman has unsuccessfully tried to become pregnant with her own or her partner’s eggs. She may also look for an egg donor if there are risks associated (eg genetically inherited disease) with using her own eggs.

Egg donation requires going through an IVF (In-Vitro Fertilisation) procedure. The egg donor will typically need to take medication to increase the number of eggs growing and then undergo a procedure to retrieve the eggs. The eggs are then fertilised in a laboratory using sperm and (usually) some of those eggs will then grow into healthy embryos, which can be implanted in the mother or surrogate.

Because the donation must occur at a fertility clinic, it is clear cut that the donor has no rights or obligations to the child, and will not be named on the birth certificate.

Co-parenting

This  is a way of raising children that involves parents who are not in a relationship. Most commonly, co-parenting arrangements are made between a gay man or couple, and a woman or female couple. The parents may all live in the same household or not.

Co-parenting is not legally recognised anywhere in Australia, as a child can only have at most two parents recorded on their birth certificate. Successful co-parenting requires good communication and negotiation between all parties and a written agreement that all can sign can help resolve issues.

Useful Links

The Rainbow Families Council of Victoria has very good information for prospective donors and co-parents.

PrideAngel is a website that allows donors to be contacted by prospective parents. It is a UK-based service that has prospective donors and co-parents worldwide, including a number of Queensland ones.

Gay Dads Australia also has information and links on donating and co-parenting.