Waldlaw Blog

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Known Donors, Fathers, and Everything In Between

This last couple of weeks, I have been cranking out agreements for couples planning on using known sperm donors as fast as I can write them. I love doing these agreements, for several reasons. First, I love being part of the adventure of building families. The clients who come to me for donor agreements are generally so excited and happy, getting ready to dive into parenthood and thinking carefully about how to do it in the way that will best reflect their vision of the family they are trying to create. The enthusiasm is infectious -- especially for me, being a very enthusiastic parent myself. Second, I love having the opportunity to sit down with clients before any irreparable errors have been made, and help them avoid making them. I admit that sometimes these conversations cross the boundaries between therapy and law. To do a known donor agreement well, I have to probe peoples' intentions with them, and ask them all the hard questions I can think of, and try to help them hear their answers through a child's ears. But this is preventive law at its best, and it beats the heck out of the alternative! Recently, I have had a much more immediate reason to put a lot of thought and effort into my known donor agreements. For the first time in my career, I am currently faced with a situation where a lesbian bio mom is trying to substitute the known-but-previously-uninvolved sperm donor in for her now-ex-partner, despite the fact that she and her partner unquestionably had their children together -- as a couple -- with the intent to both be parents. This is lesbian drama at its worst, and it absolutely boggles my mind. As a bio mom myself, I simply cannot fathom how any mother can think it is okay to try to strip her children of their adoring other parent, no matter how bad things get between the adults. I also cannot imagine going back on my word to the extent required to try to pull this off. But all of that aside, this experience is again making me appreciate the importance of crossing i's and dotting t's while things are good. To date, we have not had a single donor dispute go to court in the San Francisco Bay Area where there was a written, signed agreement between the donor and the recipients. Instead, folks who have taken the time -- and spent the money -- to put their visions and understandings and agreements in writing and then sign on the dotted line seem to genuinely feel bound by those agreements -- to some extent legally, but also clearly ethically. Not one case in litigation. I think those numbers speak for themselves.....


Post a Comment

<< Home