Melbourne IVF supplied us with a lovely long list of questions that we should discuss before donating and trying to get pregnant, just to make sure all parties are on the same page. It was an interesting exercise, Lawyer typed up the questions, and individually we answered them (Lawyer and I in the same room but on different computers and D all the way over seas). I was surprised to find that not only are Lawyer and I on the same page, we answered the questions almost the same too.

Because there are 37 questions and we all have given answers to them I’ll be chopping it up into smaller bite sized posts. Here’s the first round! I’ve colour coded the responses so you can see who said what. Purple- Geek Green- Lawyer Red- Donor

What is parenting intention?

  • What will be the parenting roles and responsibilities of all the parties involved?
  • Geek– will be primary caregiver of the child, will have primary responsibility for ensuring that the child is cared for on a daily basis. Will potentially leave work and care for the child full-time and/or work part-time until the child is school age, as long as finances permit this.
    Lawyer – will support Geek in caring for the child, will fulfil some of the day-to-day care of the child especially in the evenings, will be the “breadwinner” and will work full-time to provide income for the family.
    D – will be somewhat free to choose his own role and responsibilities in caring for the child, however will not be involved in the day-to-day care of the child and will not be responsible for making major decisions for the child.

    Geek and Lawyer to have full parenting roles. D to have more of an uncle role in the children’s lives until they are old enough to understand about where babies come from.
    As far as you guys’ role goes, it’s a matter of how long is a piece of string? You’re both first time parents, and it’s impossible to see for sure into the future as to what demands your careers and other commitments will make on you individually, and how that will affect who takes what roles, and what will be necessary in terms of childcare. Ultimately, the day-to-day parenting- the love, the logistics, the discipline, the sweat, the tears,  of every day child raising, is going to come down to you guys. And it’ll probably be a combination of research and learning as you go for you, to find the right balance of how you divide the roles between you. For me, it’s also difficult to see concretely into the future, not least being- where the hell, geographically, will I be?! Wherever I am, I think the intial description of a close uncle is the most appropriate one. Wherever I am, you can expect that I will want to be involved as much as I am welcome, while also being aware that I will be pursuing my own travels, career, passions, and maybe one day even being a 100% Dad to children of my own. I can guarantee, though, an unswerving amount of love and interaction for the child, wherever it be from afar, or in fortnightly visits.

  • Who will be responsible for the day-to-day care of the child, for social activities, what will the arrangements be for holidays?
  • Geek will be largely responsible for the day-to-day care of the child, Lawyer will support Geek. Holiday time to be negotiated between Geek and Lawyer once the child reaches school age – one or the other will take annual leave for the duration of holidays and/or arrange for the child to spend time during the day with extended family. If D wants to care for the child during school holidays (for example allow the child to fly [overseas] and spend time with him and D’s BF), and the child agrees, this would be acceptable when the child is old enough.
    Day to day- Geek and Lawyer
    Holidays- would like D to have some involvement with holidays and special days, as a big family while children are younger.
    As above. What I will be able to do for him or her (please take that as shorthand referring to other gendered possibilities as well) in terms of babysitting, holiday care/visits, etc, largely depends, again upon where I am in the world, what my personal circumstances are at the time, etc. BUT I really, really hope that where possible, and if you guys wish it, I’ll be your first babysitting / holiday minding, excursion-taking port of call.

  • Who will be responsible for major decisions regarding health care, schooling, religion, where the child lives?
  • Lawyer and Geek will be ultimately responsible for all major decisions regarding health care, schooling, religion and where the child lives. They will consult with D and take his views into account, but will do what they believe is right for the child even if D disagrees.
    Health care, schooling- our responsibility
    Religion is a crock of shit and we will not enforce any religion on the children. Will leave them to make up their own minds when they are old enough.
    Children live with Geek and Lawyer. Visit/stay with D when old enough, and of course depending on which country he lives in.

    You will! I’ll always be keen to talk about these things with you to whatever extent you want, but I don’t feel that I will ever see myself as being in a position to try to force my will in any of these matters upon your parenting. Not how I roll! I mean, obviously, I’d object pretty strongly to, you know, suicide cults, or refusing crucial blood transfusions on religious grounds, but apart from that, yeah. You guys’ call, completely.

  • Will the donor be expected to play a role in the daily care and upbringing of the child?
  • No, D will not be expected to play a role in the daily care and upbringing of the child. He will also not be encouraged to play this role.
    Not unless he wants to, but even then only limited.
    No, not in the sense of a mandatory obligation. I have struggled with the whole travelling thing, but in the end, it was something I had already committed myself and my dreams and my future plans to before I was honoured with the chance to help the L-B family take shape, and I feel that for now, as uncle, that is still what I as a person need to be doing, and while not the perfect eventuation, is at the end of the day going to be all good, and just a factor that shapes how the child will see me. In some ways, it may be a helpful delineation, as people raised ina  nuclear family orientated society obstinately try to assimilate me as the ‘Dad’, thereby diluting the validity of the child’s two-Mum home life. When I stress the role of ‘uncle’ though, I a) only do so to indicate the type of relationship, not to indicate a preference as to how the child is obliged to consider or refer to me, and b) I definitely don’t want to imply that the child will be intentionally or otherwise given a lesser degree of love from me than if I was in a geographically closer position, or a closer designated family role.

  • Will the donor be expected to be around as a support?
  • D will not be expected to be around as a support; we understand that he is likely to live [overseas] for an extended period of time and would take this into account. In saying that, if he was living in Australia and did want to provide support to us, it would be welcomed.
    Not unless he wants to. Although would welcome a baby sitter 😉
    As above. But when not in Australia, I will certainly be around for all the emotional support, and long discussions, that you guys and the child need or want, and once the child is old enough, if he or she feels the need, I would love to be in very regular contact via skype (or whatever the latest technological revelation is by then…)

  • What are the intended and preferred parenting arrangements in the event of death of any of the persons in the agreement?
  • If  Geek or Lawyer were to die, the care of the child would pass to the other one absolutely. If both were to die, it would depend on D’s living arrangements and preferences as to whether he would take on full-time care of the child. If he is living [overseas], for example, it would be preferable that the child remains in Australia as they would have limited exposure to the language and culture. If D does not want to take on care of the child, Geek’s parents would be our next choice to care for the child in the event of both Geek and Lawyer’s death, and Lawyer’s parents would be the third choice.
    Would not be obliged and depends on his situation at the time, but would like him to consider it if he in a situation where he could. If something were to happen to us and D is living overseas I would prefer children to stay in Australia where things are familiar and they have relatives around them, grandparents, aunties, cousins.
    Similar to that if I was the child’s biological uncle. If it was one of you two to die, need for my involvement may increase significantly, but not to the point of me assuming a parenting role. And if it was me to die, once again, it would be an uncle-like situation. I would propose that maybe the writing of a letter for when the child is old enough (just in case) could be a great thing. If they grew up never knowing one of us three due to a death, I think something from that person specifically for the child would be a wonderful thing for them to have.