The Known Donor Dad


And now, for my own category! As I wrote about last June, I recently made the decision to become a known sperm donor for my good friends, Tori and Kelly. In that article, I detailed my frustrations over the lack of resources available to those thinking about becoming a sperm donor, even though this, too, is becoming increasingly popular among gay and bisexual men.

But once again, in place of research, Gays With Kids has brought you anecdotes of men who have become known donors. In “The Known Sperm Donor,” for example, I brought you the stories of three different men, each of whom decided to serve as a donor for a lesbian couple. If anything became clear to me in the interviews I conducted for that article, it’s that there is no cookie-cutter pattern or instruction manual for men who decide to become known donors.

Corey Harris with his daughter and her moms Colleen and Nicole

Some men, like David Brown, would bristle at the thought of being called a “donor” at all. His relationship with Kelly and Karen, the women he helped conceive, more closely resembles a co-parenting arrangement. His kids call him Dad; he even bought a house next door to Kelly and Karen to help him play a more active parenting role. On the other end of the spectrum is Jeff, who is known as an uncle to the children he helped his friends conceive, and who lives in a completely separate state.

Then there are donor dads like Corey Harris, who is somewhere in the middle of these two ends of the spectrum, and who I caught up with recently to ask his advice to anyone considering becoming a known donor for a friend or couple.

“Use your guts,” Corey said by way of advice. “If you feel good about the people raising the baby, and you have come up with terms that are acceptable to you, go for it. [The moms] Colleen and Nicole have been so awesome. When decisions come, we sit down and talk about it. At the end of the day, they are the moms, and I don’t have the ability to overrule them. But it’s so nice to be included.”

Corey also suggests you spend time figuring out what you want out of the relationship. “It’s a lifetime commitment,” Corey said, “So make sure you’re standing up for yourself, and deciding what it is you really want.”

David Brown (with red baseball cap) and his partner with David’s three kids and their two moms Karen and Kelly

To this, I’ll add my own advice: Regardless of whether or not you expect to play an active role in the child’s life, be prepared to fall in love. I was never much of a “baby person” before the birth of my daughter. And truth be told, I’m still not. But I’m obsessed with my babygirl in a way I couldn’t have anticipated, and am grateful to her moms that they encourage my involvement rather than feel threatened by it.

You probably won’t be surprised to find that there is surprisingly little out there by way of resources for gay and bisexual men thinking of becoming known sperm donors. So my next piece of advice is probably the most important: Find others who have already gone through the process. Being a known donor comes with a specific set of questions and concerns, and despite my friend’s and family’s most patient attempts to listen to me as I go about processing these questions, there really is nothing better than talking with someone who has already gone through the experience.

Other than that? Follow along at home as I continue to document the stories of other known donors for Gays With Kids.

More Paths to Gay Fatherhood.