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Been asked to be a sperm donor? Serious advice being sought

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by robsalvv, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. Ok Ok, I expect some derision from the numpties and humourists around here... which I'll take with some grace... but I WILL call upon mod brothers and sisters if it gets outa hand... so take note.

    Given that NR always knows EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING and is one of the most valued resources I know... I have a question about sperm donation.

    I've been invited to consider being a sperm donor for a dear friend whom I've known most of my adult life. I'm overwhelmed and honoured by her choice of me.

    She has her own considerations and counselling etc, so this thread is NOT ABOUT HER, it's strictly about the fact that I'm not ofay with the laws and possible implications of being a donor and want to weigh up what it might mean for me.

    There are three paths that I see:
    1. Say no for <insert personal reasons here>
    2. Say yes via some legal institutional pathway
    3. Say yes via some unofficial "back yard" path way.

    She tells me that I can be as involved or distant with the child as I want... because it's about her life path, not about snaring a partner, but I frankly don't know how I feel and how to weigh up all the possible implications.

    My intuition is to say YES. Why wouldn't I want to help my dear friend achieve one of her life goals?

    Web searches haven't really answered my questions, just raised more... and I've learned that the institutional path has a lead time of at least 12 months with all the personal medical genetic testing and sperm quarantine & testing that needs to occur. I think there are some good reasons for these tests, so I'd probably do some of them anyway even if path 3 was chosen.

    I don't see this as an opportunity for me to procreate - I'm seeing it as a possible altruistic act of friendship... but will that be how I always see it?

    Should it be an anonymous act, i.e., the kid never knows? Should it be an open act, that the kid knows from the earliest possible time that Uncle Rob is it's biological father (that leaves room for a "real" father should my friend partner up)? Should I run a mile? What are the legal implications? If we don't go an institutional legal path, will I be considered as the legal father in the eyes of the law? What are some of the moral considerations? Ethical? etc etc etc

    Any ladies reading this, how would you feel about partnering up with a guy who had donated to a close friend and who has a part to play in that kids life??

    What things/factors etc should I be considering?

    Has anyone gone this path before? How has it turned out?

    So, with some trepidation NR, I say, shoot! (lol pun intended)
  2. Rob, firstly to even be considered is an amazing thing.

    The choice has to be yours and yours alone.

    The biggest issue is the anonymity aspects. There either have been, or there is proposed to be, a review of these laws. If your friend chooses not to tell their child about you, come 18, are you prepared for the child of a close friend to suddenly find out that you are their father?

    How would you feel being this child's biological father, but perhaps seeing them being brought up in a way that you don't like? What if your friend meets someone knew and this child that you've got to know is taken to another part of the country?

    There are so many things to consider that you should seek legal and personal counselling. Being a sperm donor is one thing, but for a dear and close friend brings with it so many new things.
  3. I had the same decision to make about 15 years ago and had pretty much the same range of questions and concerns (and felt similarly honoured).

    Because I was unable to resolve all the issues to my satisfaction for a number of reasons (not least of which was that the lady in question and her partner would have otherwise been my principal go-to people for ethical/legal guidance in such matters), my eventual answer was no.

    With the greater resources open to you and (unless you're a net-savvy hermit) a likely wider range of informed support amongst your friends, though, you've probably got a better chance of being able to make an informed decision than I had back then.

    Not terribly helpful I know, but I wish you the very best for making the right decision, whatever that may be.
  4. Not until you friend partners with a male in a permanent relationship.

    Every child needs a father. Absent fathers do not count. I speak from experience, my parents divorced when I was 6, and I was left spending the majority of my childhood and young adulthood seeking a father figure in other men. I still resent my mother for this.

    Don't subject a child to this just to help a women fulfil her biological or emotional needs. The needs of the child must come first.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. awww rob!
    what an incredibly tough decision to make.

    sorry i dont really have any helpful advice to add! good luck making the best choice though.

    I guess you need to really decide how involved you want to be though & make sure there is legal protection in place first?

    maybe you should run through the tests first - perhaps the decision will be made for you?
  6. This quote is brutal, but IMO paramount in your decision making process Rob. Your friend considers you special and i'm sure you do of her, but there's another soul involved here and that's a child. Look mate at the end of the day and speaking from a parents' perspective I consider these sorts of situations to not only be moral minefields now, but possible Hiroshima's later in life. It's got to be done right or not at all and I guess if you find yourself like PatB did with unanswered questions and perhaps a few too many "what-if's" frankly i wouldn't proceed. Parenthood is such a whole 'nother world, you're directly affecting a human life with EVERYTHING you do or don't do. Are a set of complicated circumstances such as donors and involvement going to add to the effects on the kids ???
  7. From my (admittedly narrow) Christian viewpoint, I tend to side with sharkuss and speed-demon, in that my belief is that a child needs a full-time father as well as a mother in life. Whatever this lady perceives as her 'life path', it's a pretty selfish one if she is not in a postion, or willing, to find a male partner and bring a child into the world as a loving mother AND with a loving father.

    As to your decision, I fear that going ahead my be a ticking time-bomb which could explode further down the track, with damage to the child, the woman, and you, despite the honorable intentions you may have, and the 'I've though this all through' vibes coming from the lady.

    I say, no.
  8. purely thinking of your rights, with the erosion of male/father parenting and reproductive rights, i wouldnt recommend it. would you be liable to pay child support? worst case scenario is that you have no role in the childs life, except for being a cash source. its an unfortunate reality for many fathers.

    plus it will effectively be your child as well. perhaps not in a moral sense if you and your friend are not partners, but on a deeper level that child will be part of you, and will you be able to distance yourself emotionally?
  9. Some years ago I was asked something similar from a female friend. Was told that if it happened that there would be no obligation on my part in the raising of the child. She would be doing it all herself as she had the means and didn't really need any help in the financial stakes.

    As much as I'd loved to be able to help her out in this, I had to say no. One obvious problem for my situation was I'd have no idea how I would explain it to my wife. The biggest issue for me was knowingly being a father to a child and either being excluded from its life or pretending to be a family friend. I don't think it would've being fare to the kid or to myself. That's something I just couldn't agree to.

    Rob, each situation will be different and you know yours better than anyone here. It's not an easy one to make but I wish the best on whatever you decide for your friend and yourself.
  10. Speed Demon, I'm sorry about your personal story.

    Speed Demon/Sharkuss/Hornet, as I said, this is not about her. She's made her decision and I have spoken with her about being a single parent potentially without a father/male role model in the child's life. She's been considering this for a couple of years and her own familial experiences and support networks means she doesn't see this as a show stopper. It's not a matter of being "unwilling to find a male partner" - 'nuff said about her.

    I totally agree, the time bomb type considerations are important ones.

    Very thoughtful stuff Cejay - appreciate the input. If I was to go ahead, my own gut feel is that the child should know who their biological father is and should do so from the earliest possible time. This is the only way I can see the time bomb effects being mitigated. So given that... the question for me is can I cope with being in the kids life, being the biological father, but not actually its father and also having no real say? hmmmm.

    I don't see this friendship parting ways... it's a lifetime friend, so even IF I wasn't the donor, I'd still end up probably being a sounding board for my friend and will no doubt be known as Uncle Rob... you are so right... being an anonymous donor at a sperm bank is one thing... being the donor for a friend, brings so many grey areas!

    Pat, it's nice to know someone understands. :) Cheers mate.

    Es, that's a berluddy good point... go get some tests... fate may decide for me...

    Jorge K, I have no partner at present - good points to consider though.

    Gsxxer - the legal implications are weighing on my mind... I need to find a resource on the topic, then I'll know whether your (my) concerns are real.
  11. Just want to thank you guys for approaching this topic thoughtfully. Cheers for that.
  12. Rob,

    Would seriously look at the legal implications in relation to CSA. I seem to remember a couple of cases in 2007 where CSA deemed a contract between the mother and donor as not legally binding and chased the donor for child support. If my memory serves me correctly it was when the mother claimed centrelink benefits for FTB part A and B and Centrelink insisted that CSA be informed for it to be paid.

    This was raised in a course I was undertaking at the time in relation to Centrelink. If CSA get involved just cut your nuts off and hand them over on a platter.

    As a father tho I personally would find it difficult not to be included in the childs life. Could become difficult if she does find a partner in the future.

    Best wishes whichever decision you make.

  13. That's just because I didn't find it yet.

    I don't see why not, it's not like you're doing anything constructive with your sperm at the moment, apart from sticking together all the best pages of the internet. And if she's that good a mate, why not cut out the middleman and go for a proper conception? With any luck you could end up like this bloke:

    Would this end up costing you money? Surely from a legal point of view, if it's your kid, it's your responsibility, and if times get desperate for mum she might be forced to go you for child support whether or not there's an agreement.

    If not, there's worse things for a kid than having a single parent... Like.... NOT EVER EXISTING AT ALL. But yes, you'd have a son or daughter, and it doesn't matter how much involvement you want to have with them, they'll definitely want to have a big involvement with their biological dad. FWIW I reckon you'll be a good one, in fact I'm surprised no young ladies have convinced you they can have a squirt or two of your baby batter under more traditional circumstances. But hey.

    Being a dad is no bad thing though, single fathers with adorable toddlers are some of the most powerful shoola magnets in existence. So I reckon go for it, what's the worst that can happen?
  14. You didn't disappoint bro. :) LOL

    Thanks for the giggle.... but I'm not planning on being a single father... just donating some swimmers that, yes, could be put to better use. LMAO.

    Wayne, that exactly the sort of scenario I do not want to walk into.
  15. You can always be an anonymous sperm donor for some ivf couple if you so desire, that way your swimmers could be put to good use.
  16. http://digg.com/d1IARx




    potentially if this is enacted, then any agreement you make will only be legal if you include this step. Presumably that also means if you don't have this in your contract and she changes her mind, you *will* be considered the father since your contract will be invalid.. or something....

    from a different perspective, if you did change your maind later about your invovlement:

    my (limited) view is that you're never going to be able to rationalise your emotions once it happens. You can't predict what she will want or what you want. Regardless of the outcome I suspect it will have unanticipated consequences
  17. I'd tell her "No. Go buy a puppy. Geez."

    But if I did go through with it; I'd do it through a sperm-bank or a family court lawyer to make sure there was no liability on my part.

    Remove the element of flattery from your mind, and consider whether you really need the risk, the hassle, the mental gymnastics and the complications down the road[?]

    Best of luck, Bravus.
  18. Rob, there has been some very good and thoughtful commentary here in answer to your question.

    Your desire to help you friend is laudable, however, whilst you seem to have considered some of the moral and legal implications, one thing you don't appear to have factored in (or at least not mentioned in any depth) is how this will affect you emotionally.

    Are you the sort of man who can be "just a sperm donor" and then walk away without a second thought? If, as you say, this is a close friend and you would expect to continue to be friends, are you really certain you would be happy just to be "Uncle Rob" with no further emotional involvement? Think about this aspect of the whole situation carefully, because you are potentially opening yourself up to a whole lot of pain and heartache.

    I've never met you, but you seem like a nice guy and it would be a terrible thing if something you did for the purest and most altruistic of reasons, cost you more than you anticipated.
  19. Rob. lets just jump the fence here a little :p

    I don't know the In's and outs of my own conception, I can guess seeing as it was in the early 60's :? :cool: :LOL:

    Now I was told in my late teens that the man I thought was my biological father was in fact a 'ring in' and my two younger brothers where only 'half' brothers.
    I share have the same last name because I was 'adopted' @ age 8 when my 1st half brother arrived to save embarrassment of having different last names. [ I was born Robert Wyatt ]

    I was officially told by mum @ 17, but was also told.. for god's sake don't ever tell your father I've told you this.
    The reason I was told, was only as I'd just joined the Navy and became a real root rat, plus I had just been posted back to Syd. Mum Had to tell me I've got three half sisters and to be careful!

    Yes Mum still had phone contact with my real father secretly till I was about ten. till my grandmother stepped in and told them to move on with their life.

    My real father saw me regularly till I was about 4 [so I'm told] and vanished sometime after Mum married, he was at the wedding and I have a photo of me sitting on his lap, I was even named after him.
    After my step father passed away Mum gave me some personal items she had kept hidden for 35years !!

    I was always close to mum but dad, even though he was there for the times I needed him, we where never as close as what he was to my brothers. I always seemed to be included but not really wanted.

    Which now a lot later in life explains heaps, it may not have been intentional on anyones part but my brothers got a hell of a lot more affection and help than I ever did. They got guidance, I got " what the F*** have you done now and whats this going to cost me"

    As a result even though we live near each other and do have joint interests, I'm not on the regular mailing list and are not a close family unit.

    I'm only guessing, but at some point my step father told my dad to F off and forbade mum from any contact with him.

    So Rob,
    What happens if this very good friend does happen to meet someone in the next, say ten years, they do marry and manage to have a child of their own/ or dont. You can see they are both happy, and you have with your arrangement, formed a bond with the child of your 'donation' and the new man tells you to F off and have no more contact.

    Could you walk away from the child AND this close relationship you have with your friend. Knowing you may never see either of them again ?

    Ps: Every know and then this subject comes up and resurfaces my feelings about finding my real father if he is still living. I think I know where my Rudd Bucks are going to be spent now
  20. For the most part this will be an entirely personal decision that nobody can help you with.

    The things you need to be aware of are that if you wish to remain an anonymous donor, and the child is not to know, then this in all likelihood will not remain this way. If you are happy for the child to find out at some point and deal with the consequences of that then well and good. Bear in mind, if you don't play an active part in this child's life, then there is always the potential later on when the child finds out you are the other biological parent for recriminations and accusations for you not having wanted to play a larger role in their life. That's the first thing to consider. How will the child feel about your part in this and their life?

    Secondly, you don't know how you will feel once you see the pregnancy developing and that life starts. Then the birth and the knowing that that child is your son/daughter. You might enter in this thinking that you'll be fine keeping out of it and then discovering you want a hell of a lot more input than you anticipated once it becomes a real person and not a theoretical occurrence. As a parent I can tell you once that life begins, it changes everything. Will that happen for you? I don't think you can tell until it unfolds. So you need to be prepared for that eventuality.

    Thirdly there is the potential for financial considerations. As previously alluded to, the CSA is the devils own agency and if they can slice off a pound of flesh from you, then by god, they'll take that and more. You could potentially be up for child support down the track. And I can tell you they are not fair and there is huge potential for the other party to rort the CSA system to their benefit and you'll have no option but to bend over and take it without the benefit of lubrication. You may feel you can trust your friend now, but in times of hardship who knows what may happen. People you think you know well can turn out to be something else altogether.

    Its a can of worms. If you're prepared to accept being a larger part of the child's life, or if you think you can deal with not being allowed to be, and if you can deal with the potential for financial and emotional tangles down the track, then do what you feel is best. In many ways being a donor for someone you know is a much greater deal than being an anonymous donor at a sperm bank and you need to be prepared for that.