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Conceiving with a known donor or co-parent

View profile for Liza Gatrell
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For parents who are unable to conceive naturally (whether it be due to infertility, because they are single or part of a same sex couple) many consider conceiving with a known donor or co-parent.


So, what is the difference between a known donor and a co-parent? In simple terms a co-parent intends to be involved in the child’s life following birth whereas a known donor often does not.


Deciding whether to conceive with a known donor or co-parent can be difficult and there is a huge amount of information to navigate, leading many parents to ask: how do we set things up? What do we need to know? How do we prevent problems in the future?


Dealing with infertility can be an incredibly stressful time, which is why it’s important that parents and donors take a step back and think very carefully about their mutual expectations before any agreement to proceed is made.


We would positively encourage parents and donors to open the lines of communication at a very early stage to iron out potential issues and discuss the practical aspects of any agreement, which often get forgotten.


In terms of co-parents, a co-parenting agreement can be drafted, which can clearly set out the agreements that have been reached concerning your child. Though a co-parenting agreement is not strictly legally binding, it would be persuasive evidence if proceedings had to be issued in the future as a result of a disagreement. In our experience just going through the process of preparing such an agreement causes you to carefully consider issues at the start which would otherwise cause problems later down the line.


We can provide parents with advice on the legal issues surrounding such arrangements as well as the practical aspects. Where appropriate we can also assist in drafting co-parenting agreements to reflect the discussions that have taken place.