If you are a single person who wants to have a child, you may be trying to find a co-parent. There are many options, which include enlisting the help of a close friend, or finding an anonymous co-parent online.
Co-parenting is a relatively new term born out of the massive number of parents who are not living together, married or in a sexual relationship with each other. It originally referred to parents who sought to bring up a child together, assuming equal responsibility and influence, subsequent to a separation or divorce. In the past few decades, however, the term started being used to refer to individuals who wish to become moms or dads without entering into a traditional relationship. These types of arrangements are most common among gay and lesbian parents, but are becoming more common among heterosexual men and women.
Ways to Find a Co-Parent
Although the concept of finding a co-parent may seem simple at first, it is usually a long and complicated process. Regardless of the route you choose, they all have challenges.
Friends and Colleagues
Many start their search to find a co-parent in their circle of friends, believing that conceiving and rearing a child with a person with whom you share interests, goals and values would be the most rewarding and stable option. While this seems like the most logical path to take, it is usually full of unexpected obstacles. Regardless of the sexual orientation of the involved parties, there are bound to be issues regarding custody terms, legal responsibilities, future relationships and family structures that are complex and require extensive negotiations to satisfy both parties. Making a lifetime commitment is a serious step under any circumstances, especially when a child's life and future are at stake, and even the closest friend is bound to have reservations and concerns regarding how the situation may evolve.
A significant number of people seeking to parent a child outside of conventional circumstances choose to do it alone. Women can easily find sperm donations at sperm banks or online and be inseminated at home or at medical facilities. Both men and women can find surrogate mothers and egg donors online or through classified ads in newspapers and magazines. The surrogates may use their own eggs or be implanted with eggs from the contracting mother or other female, and the fertilizing sperm may be from an anonymous bank donor or from a known male. In this situation, most parents choose to raise the child on their own, eliminating common co-parenting issues, but also taking a big responsibility onto their own shoulders.
As the conventions of co-parenting continue to develop, potential circumstances and options become more varied. Some people are considering three parent settings wherein a female bears a child for an established couple who cannot have children for various reasons, and the three parent the child together. Other options include having a child with a single man or woman with whom the co-parent has a platonic rather than romantic relationship, having a child with a couple with a solid romantic union who believe a third party would provide emotional, financial and childcare support, and co-parenting with a person who has a sibling or parent who is eager to be part of a child-rearing trio.
Screening and Selection
Before entering into any co-parenting agreement, be sure all parties are thoroughly screened for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as well as physiological or psychological disorders transmittable through genes. Numerous accredited agencies perform this screening to help you make an informed decision.
Regardless of your age, gender or sexual orientation, there is a myriad of options for becoming a co-parent. To help you make good choices and enter into a relationship that offers the greatest benefits to both the child and the parents, research the options and read testimonials of people who have been through the experience of finding a co-parent and what the outcomes have been. Being well prepared and knowing what to expect will make not only the process of becoming a parent easier, but also the subsequent stages of being a parent, allowing you to focus on the fun parts of being a parent instead of the logistics of it.