For women who want to get pregnant – whether they are in a same-sex relationship or single – their main options are choosing between using a sperm donor or finding a coparent.
Sperm donation is where a donor’s sample is used to impregnate a woman. If you are looking for a donor, you can purchase sperm from a fertility clinic (which will also carry out the IVF procedure), or an online sperm bank. You can also find a donor through social networks, your own friendships, or online, but you will still have to have such sperm tested for quality and health.
There are many advantages to sperm donation, especially for women who want to parent their own child without compromise or input. You also would not have to share time with your child as the primary caregiver.
For the most part, being conceived by sperm donation has not been proven to have an adverse impact on the child. Most child psychologists recommend telling the child before they reach the age of five, to give them time to understand their origins and identity. Most data shows that the child reacts in response not to the information of being donor-conceived, but in response to how their parent feels about it. If the parent is confident and proud of their decision, the child is more likely to be accepting. Parents however, who keep it a secret as if ashamed are more likely to create mistrust between them and their child.
Sperm donation therefore is a way of conceiving the child without involving another parent. Yet, there are so many benefits to inviting that parent to help raise your child – to coparenting.
Having a coparent means having a friend, an ally, a confidant and a support system. By choosing to share this journey with another person, you can share the emotional labour and financial costs of raising a child. There is another person to help with nappy-changing and late-night teething tantrums and parent-teacher evenings. There is someone to share the first steps and school trips and orthodontist bills.
Having multiple parents, who work together and respect each other, is also a wonderful experience for the child. Not only does it help solidify the child’s sense of belonging, as they are able to understand from an early age where they came from, but it also provides a chance for that child to build more than one primary relationship.
Ultimately, choosing between sperm donation and coparenting will depend on the individual woman and what she hopes for from motherhood. Many women choose to be independent, and many others delight in sharing the parental duties with another person. Coparenting offers a chance to grow your family in a supported partnership, but it will require compromise, as all great partnerships do.