Co-Parenting

The man would donate sperm and both would then share custody of their child.

It is important that you give careful consideration when choosing the co-parent. Decisions regarding the child’s upbringing would need to be discussed, so ensuring that you both share the same values would make it a lot easier.

Contacting Lesbian and Gay Co-Parenting organisations would be a great place to find an ideal partner if you face any difficulties. Additionally, if you aren’t using a clinic, these organisations may be able to supply you with a home insemination kit. Remember - before you carry out a home insemination, make sure you are aware of the risks involved.

Parenting Agreements

Once you have found a suitable partner, contacting a legal representative is advisable. It would be a good idea to draw up a ‘parenting agreement’ covering the important aspects of childcare such as money, living arrangements, schooling etc. It wouldn’t be legally binding but a court would consider it (along with the best interests of the child), if any dispute arose. Equally important, it encourages you and the co-parent to discuss these key considerations before becoming co-parents together.

Parental agreements are always a good idea and in most instances turn out to be a good investment. The matter is further complicated if the parenting arrangement is between couples, rather than a single gay man and lesbian. For example, within a two couple co-parenting arrangement, the birth mother and biological father will be the legal parents. However, the father will only receive parental responsibility if he is named on the birth certificate (though it is possible to apply to a court for this at a later point in time).

The couple who have primary care of the child could, in theory, adopt him or her, thereby giving full parental rights to the biological mother or father’s partner. Unfortunately, the other biological parent would then lose their parental rights meaning this is not normally a viable option for co-parents.

The best way of overcoming this depends on your circumstances. If both couples are civilly partnered, then both non-biological parents can obtain parental responsibility by simply signing a parental responsibility agreement. If that’s not the case, the couple providing primary care can apply to a court for joint parental responsibility. However, in this situation, it is not normally possible for the non-biological parent who doesn’t live with the child to acquire any parental rights.

Despite these difficulties, the positive aspects of co-parenting are that the child will have two, or possibly several, adults caring for him or her.