Sperm donor and co-parent website: How does Pride Angel work?

Sperm donor and co-parent website: How does Pride Angel work?

image-12.jpgYou are one step closer to starting your family or helping others achieve their dream. Find out more about how Pride Angel works, whether you are a wishing to become a sperm donor, egg donor, co-parent, or recipient looking for a donor.

Getting information
Choosing to donate sperm or eggs is a wonderful gift, giving others the opportunity of becoming parents. It can be a big decision to become a donor, whether or not you wish to be involved in the upbringing of the child, it is worth considering what level of contact you wish to maintain. Getting plenty of information regarding your legal rights and what health screening is required is really important.

Are you looking for a sperm donor to complete your family? It is a big decision and you will want to choose the right person, as ultimately they will be giving 50% of your future child’s genes. It is also really important to find a like minded person, especially when there is an intention that the donor will play a part in the child’s life, such as an ‘uncle type figure’. Even if your intention is for your child to have no contact with the donor, children need to have the ability to trace their identity as they become adults. Therefore keeping a record of the donor’s identification is important to enable them to trace at age 18 years if they wish to. Receiving treatment through a fertility clinic will ensure that these details are kept on file. If you are a lesbian couple, it is worth considering whether you will be entering into a civil partnership before starting fertility treatment or home insemination. If you are civil partners at the time you conceive, the non-birth mother is your child's legal parent if you conceive artificially (which covers IUI or IVF at a licensed clinic, and artificial insemination at home) If you are a single woman and you conceive outside a fertility clinic (home insemination) your donor would be treated as the child’s legal parent in the eyes of the law.

Choosing to co-parent as a single person or couple is a real commitment, but an arrangement which works, can be really beneficial to a child, gaining input from both biological parents and the extra support from extended family members. As a co-parent you would be sharing parental responsibility and also any financial responsibility too. Members wishing to co-parent are advised to take their time choosing the right kind of person who has similar parenting styles and values to you. Getting to know your co-parent over a period of a year can enables a greater understanding of whether you would both be able to co-parent effectively.

Involving your partner
If you are looking for a sperm donor as part of a couple, such as a lesbian couple, or heterosexual couples, it is important to involve your partner as much as possible in the process. The partner who is not the birth mother can sometimes feel left out and may be concerned about whether they will bond with the child. It is important to keep communication open at all times and to both talk about ways in which you could make each other feel secure and happier in the decision to start a family together. Share your thoughts and feelings, maybe have counselling together before starting your journey to parenthood.
If you are a donor looking to donate or co-parent as part of a couple it is also necessary to consider the feeling of your partner and to be open and honest about your donations. Many children wish for the option of contacting their donor later in life, even if simply to see what their ‘biological father or mother’ is like. How you would feel and how your partner would feel, when a’ biological child’ makes contact in the future must be a serious consideration when choosing to donate.

Viewing profiles
Pride Angel allows you to search basic profiles of sperm donors, egg donors, co-parents and recipients without the need to register, searching by country and county. However to view another member’s full profile and any image/picture you are required to register with us. Becoming a member also allows you to do ‘advanced searches’ allowing you to search specific criteria such as eye colour, hair colour and race, to name but a few.

Creating a profile
To create your own personal profile, simply register with us for free. We only require a few basic details to get you started. Then you are able to update your profile with further information within the ‘About’ and ‘Interests’ sections. You may also choose to upload a photograph of yourself, or both of you if you are registering as a couple. In addition there is an optional ‘health questionnaire’ which you may choose to complete, showing other members that you are committed to health screening. The more details you add to your profile about yourself and the addition of a photograph, will give you a better chance of finding a like minded parenting match. Remember that the profiles which catch your attention, often have images and interesting comments for you to read.

Making contact
Pride Angel has a safe internal messaging system which enables you to contact other members without needing to give out any personal information. Members are able to purchase message credits, priced from only £10. Our unique message credits system has many benefits: there are no set up fees or monthly subscriptions; message credits don’t run out, so you can take your time, message credits also prevent nuisance contacts from other members and helps minimise sperm donors donating to too many people. Sperm donors and egg donors are given 5 free message credits to enable them to reply to messages. Pride Angel has a ‘Report Abuse’ button which enables you to easily let us know if you are concerned about a particular member. For example a member who has requested payment (other than expenses) or natural insemination (sexual intercourse) should be reported to us, and we will act upon any ‘reports’ immediately.

Getting to know each other
Choosing a donor or co-parent is a huge decision, therefore we always advise our members to take their time in getting to know each other better. Initially you may choose to send several internal email messages, until you feel comfortable with giving any personal details such as email addresses or telephone numbers. We want our members to be stay safe at all times, therefore if you are unsure, never give personal details out, until you are totally happy that you have got to know the other person well enough.

Meeting your donor or recipient
Members should always personally meet with their prospective donor, co-parent or recipient. It is often difficult to understand a person’s personality or mannerisms until you actually meet an individual. Safety of our members is of utmost importance to us, this is why we always recommend meeting your donor or co-parent in a public place such as a restaurant or shopping area. If you are part of a couple always go together, or if you are a single person, take a friend or family member along for support. Meeting initially may feel a little daunting or awkward but remember that the other person probably feels exactly the same. Once you have met for the first time, you are more likely to have a better idea, as to whether this person would be right as a donor, co-parent or recipient. If you are unsure it is better to be honest, don’t feel that there is no going back, this is ‘your choice’ and a decision in which you must feel happy and comfortable with.

Communicating with your donor or recipient
Being able to communicate openly with your donor or recipients from the start is really important. It can help prevent any problems and misunderstandings further down the line. The areas which need to be talked about include:
• Family medical history and health screening
• Family details such as any previous children or donations
• Level of contact the child with have with the donor or co-parent
• Will the donor be named on the birth certificate
• Will the donor have any parental responsibility
• Will the donor be financially responsible
• Will you be getting a donor or co-parenting legal agreement in place
• How will the fertility treatment take place, at a clinic or home insemination

Contact arrangements
Contact arrangements are one of the most significant factors to consider when choosing your donor or co-parent. Donors If you are a donor or looking for a donor you may or may not wish to have ongoing contact. Some donors are happy to stay in touch or act as ‘uncle type’ figures in the child’s life, which can be beneficial to a child’s identity. This level of contact can vary from very little to quite frequent, depending of individuals circumstances. Examples of varying levels of contact include:
• No contact but donor agrees to donate through a registered clinic and have their details kept on file, for any child to be able to contact them at age 18 if they wished to.
• No contact but donor gives personal details and allows for the child to contact them if they wish to as they grow up
• No contact, but donor keeps in touch through emails or birthdays cards
• Occasional contact acting as ‘uncle type’ figure, occasionally seeing child at special occasions
• Regular contact and known as ‘dad’ without having any parental or financial responsibility. The level of contact would be the decision of the parents holding the responsibility, unless a contact agreement had been put in place.
It is important to be aware that if a donor is having regular contact with a child, they may in certain circumstances be seen as the child’s legal father and therefore by held financially responsible.

Co-parenting involves sharing parental responsibility between the biological parents. The time spent with each parent may be split 50% or more typically a child would spend a greater amount of time with one parent than the other. This may mean spending a school week with the mother and weekends with the father, however in some situations this may be the other way round. The parents would ideally come to this agreement at the start and arrange a legal co-parenting agreement. A co-parent would be involved in making decisions about the child’s welfare and would also contribute financially to their upbringing.

Legal agreements
Sperm donor
If you are choosing to use a known donor, using home insemination to conceive, it is really important to get a written sperm donor agreement in place before going ahead with any inseminations. While a donor agreement is not strictly legally binding, the process of putting an agreement in place can be helpful in setting out expectations and may also be used as evidence to a court dealing with any dispute. The law on known sperm donation can be complicated and it is well worth checking you understand whether your donor will be excluded from being the child’s legal parent. For more information on sperm donor agreements see fertility lawyers Gamble&Ghevaert.

Putting in place a co-parenting agreement is usually a good idea. With more adults involved in a child’s upbringing it is important to be clear on issues of legal parenthood and what roles and financial responsibilities everyone will have. While a co-parenting agreement is not strictly legally binding and a court would be free to act in a child’s best interest if a dispute arose between you, the process of putting an agreement in place can be helpful in managing everyone’s expectations. A legal document would also be taken into account by a court hearing any dispute, and would be likely to be given weight if reasonable in its terms, properly drafted and prepared following independent legal advice. For more information on protecting your rights as a co-parent and arranging co-parenting agreements see fertility lawyers Gamble&Ghevaert.

Health screening
Health screening is really important in protecting your health as a recipient and that of any unborn child. When choosing a donor or co-parent it is important to consider the following:
• Family health history 
• General fitness & nutrition 
• General health screening

General health screening may include:
• Urine testing
• Blood count
• Blood pressure

Sexual health screening (infection testing)
All sperm donors and should be tested for sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV, Hepatitis and Chlamydia. Speak to your local GP or GUM (Genito-urinary- medicine) clinic for further information.

Genetic health screening
All sperm donors should consider screening for the carriage of the Cystic Fibrosis gene. There are many other genetic diseases which may be screened for, dependent upon race. Speak to your local GP for further information

Fertility treatment
A single or lesbian woman without any fertility problems should be able to conceive without the need for IVF treatment. If you decide to take your known donor to a clinic for treatment, they would ensure that all the necessary health screening tests are completed. The sperm would then be frozen and kept for 6 months, and the donor re-tested for infections six months after donating. This ensures that the sperm is infection free before starting treatment. If using a fertility clinic for treatment, options include IUI (intra-uterine insemination) whereby the best quality sperm are selected. They are then inserted into the womb at the woman’s most fertile time, when an ovary releases an egg (ovulation). IUI is a less invasive technique and less expensive than IVF.

Home insemination
If co-parenting home insemination is an effective option for conceiving. To be most effective ovulation tests should be used to find the ‘fertile window’ and then inseminations performed 2-3 times per month, using latex free syringes. Pride Angel’s best selling Deluxe Insemination kit also contains, speculums, syringe extender tips and ‘sperm friendly’ lubricant to give you the best possible chance of conceiving. Read more information about home insemination instructions and kits available to purchase.

Getting pregnant
Getting pregnant can be an exciting time but also quite stressful. You will want to give yourself the best chance of conceiving as possible, to enable you to achieve pregnancy within months, rather than years of trying. To help you along this journey we have many fertility products to help test fertility and improve your chances. Read more about fertility tests and vitamins designed for pre-conception.

Once you achieve your dream of becoming pregnant you will probably feel delighted, or even a little unsure about the reactions of your partner, friends or family. If you are within a couple , it is important to continue to support each other throughout the pregnancy, making decisions together, attending antenatal classes, going for checkups and scans. When the baby is born a civil partner has the same rights as a married couple, from anything from being present during the birth, the non-biological parent being on the birth certificate, being entitled to paternity leave, and sharing maternity leave if you choose.

Alternative family
As a single person or lesbian or gay couple, however you decide to have children, the most important emphasis is that your child is raised in a safe and loving environment, with responsible parents meeting their needs. Good parenting regardless of sexuality requires consistency and security. Lesbian and gay couples are just as likely as heterosexual parents to raise well adjusted and well rounded children. There is much recent evidence from studies to support this finding, that a child having gay or lesbian parents does not affect their self-esteem and well being.

Telling your child
It may seem difficult to explain to your child how they came into the world, but being open right from the start is often the best approach. This ensures that being donor-conceived becomes a part of your child’s history, and feels like a normal part of their life as they grow. This way, if there are any comments or questions from other family members or friends, your child will know how to respond. Research has shown that the earlier a child is told about being donor-conceived, the more well adjusted they become. Ongoing contact with a donor and child will also help the child’s identity and prevent them longing to find an unknown donor as they become adults.

The Donor Conception network provides information on "telling and talking" and personal accounts from parents with older children about how they told their children about their origins.

Pride Angel believes in creating happy and health alternative families, involving donors and co-parents in the lives of their children. Find your parenting match with Pride at www.prideangel.com

Posted: 17/10/2010 14:03:50


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