Known Donor tips

If you are using a known donor, you need to protect yourself emotionally as well as physically. Here are some tips:

  • Kristin Kali, a licensed midwife who provides fertility consultations at Maia Midwifery and Preconception Services in the San Francisco Bay area, works with many women who use known donors. “I counsel women to have very open and direct conversations with any potential donor about his sexual practices, as well as those of his partner. Techniques for avoiding disease transmission must be explicitly laid out, as well as what to do if there is a mishap. I advise my clients to lay down a ground rule that anyone can call off the donor relationship at any time, no questions asked. That way, if there has been a sexual transgression or a safety consideration of any kind, the sharing of body fluids can be called off without having to go into a lengthy or embarrassing explanation.”
  • Conversations with known donor candidates will often end with the decision NOT to go ahead. Either because the Choice Mom has deal-breakers that cant be met (such as the woman who wanted her will to stipulate family members as guardians, whereas the donor wanted custody if something happened to her). Or because the known donor, going deeper into discussion, realizes he simply isn’t comfortable creating a life he will have so little involvement with.

It is much better to identify those issues before a child is created, rather than after. There are many legal cases involving known donor situations that went awry after the fact. I even known a Choice Mom whose known donor was on board for more than a year as she tried to conceive, wanting to be a co-parent, but after she became pregnant decided he didnt want to be involved in their life after all. They co-owned a house and she had to sell and move late in her pregnancy.

In-depth conversations are needed, ideally with the guidance of a third party who can put it into contract form, to try to flush out all the hesitations, miscommunication and assumptions.

  • Fernanda is one Choice Mom who dealt with heartache when several known donor candidates changed their mind. She reminds women that “yes,” “no” and maybe” are all variable answers. She suggests having a Plan B, to make sure you arent so desperately invested in one option that you waste time waiting for the ultimate yes.
  • It’s also important to recognize that YOU should be able to change your mind as well. Plan in advance what your priorities are so that you dont end up agreeing to something in the emotion of moving forward that you might ultimately regret.
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